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Given the pandemic, International Women’s Day 2021 events would be online, so these virtual ideas for IWD can be adapted to your workplace.
International Women’s Day 2021 is just around the corner. Celebrating this day every year is now part of corporate culture, as part of creating awareness for women’s issues, as well as specifically calling out gender bias and inequity at work, and to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.
Given that work from home is still a reality for most of us, how about looking at some virtual ideas for IWD celebrations this year?
Two themes for IWD 2021 have been announced by two different orgs. UN Women has announced the theme as “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” and the theme at the International Women’s Day site is #ChooseToChallenge.
It is as if one theme leads to the other. #ChooseToChallenge to move toward an equal future. An equal future where equal representation of women leadership is a norm. Let us choose to challenge the status quo, promote leadership and development programs for women, create inclusive workplaces, celebrate women at work, and create paths for younger women to see their own future in the workplace. How we can achieve a more equal future in a COVID-19 world.
Here are a few interesting visual ideas for IWD 2021.
All you need for this is your phone camera.
Each participant shoots either a day in the life of a woman, or a narrative they create. These are then showcased, along with prizes.
An offshoot of this could be a photography contest, with themes like ‘women in the outdoors’, or ‘every woman is beautiful’.
A few virtual ideas for IWD will need some prior planning, as much as at least a couple of weeks. This is one of those.
In the spirit of the day, let the theme be decided democratically. 4-5 themes can be chosen according to your brand values, and decided upon by a poll. Then have employees participate and blog – it is possible that not everyone who wants to participate has a blog, so create one which can be accessed by everyone in-house. Or people can do it on company microsites and LinkedIn.
Have winners and runners-up which will drive more employees to speak up on the issues chosen.
A webinar is one of the most compatible formats of celebration at workplaces, so I highly recommend it.
Have women speakers talk about challenges faced by women at work during COVID, about women being frontline COVID warriors at various levels of healthcare. Have discussions on how we can adapt going forward, to help women choose to challenge status quo and those who are a roadblock to their achieving an equal future.
This one can be probably a Webinar Plus. As befits a ‘festival’ there can be cultural programmes like a musical evening with women themed songs, or by women artists.
Self explanatory, this one among the virtual ideas for IWD 2021 will be able to snag the younger employees excellently, so it can be planned accordingly. Of course, plenty of older employees could be IG savvy too, so let’s choose to challenge that stereotype too.
This is also the kind of programme where the company can get younger women employees centre stage, by getting them to lead these Live sessions; prepare themselves about the guests’ credentials, and do the chats themselves. A great way of making them feel that they ‘belong’, their thoughts heard.
Not all women can Lean In, speak up, feel comfortable with the spotlight on them, or get over their diffidence is sharing their thoughts about workplace experiences. But this can be an opportunity they can take. Not exactly to air their grievances, but to speak about their everyday at work.
Call out for 30 sec clips from women employees about what they would want for the org to do for women, and create a compilation/ stitch it into a video that goes up on your org’s YouTube channel/ page.
Tie up with local women run businesses (could be in a metropolitan region, or State-based, or country-wide based on a theme) that create indigenous commodities, and a percentage of all sales on the day goes into a fund that supports a charity the org supports.
A karaoke session might not really be related to the theme of IWD, but why not have a planned fun event post the main event, if your workplace culture permits? Helps a lot in boosting morale, and team bonding.
Employees can join virtually, either as participants or audience. Smaller, close-knit workplaces can get everyone to participate. Between those who sign up as participants, each singer tags someone who has to sing to Karaoke next. Something similar to a chain Antakshari. Within bigger companies too, it can played in teams; whole work teams that work together on an everyday basis can comprise one team.
All employees can participate in this. While women employees get to treat themselves to a meal, male employees can treat any woman of their family to an exclusive treat. The bill is on the company! Set a budget for this and ask your employees to pose and post on intranet or on their social media channels tagging their organization’s handle.
Create virtual ‘Thank You’ cards visible on your intranet, where everyone can put messages for their women leaders, mentors or peers, expressing their gratitude. This could be customized with respect to the overall credo of the organization.
To execute most of these, you may need some preparedness from within the HR team or members who would set the ball rolling!
Are there any other virtual ideas for IWD that you may want to suggest? Do go ahead and add to this list.
Image source: a still from the film Tumhari Sulu
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