International Women's Day is a big deal, but when you have a daughter, it's even more important to take the time to soak in the message. It's more than just singing along to Spice Girls (although that helps), so having some ways to celebrate International Women's Day with your daughter can really give the day some impact on both of you. Plus, who needs an excuse to really focus on an awesome, empowering day with your kid?
The thing is, your daughter is most likely surrounded by strong women every day. But International Women's Day is the perfect time to really focus on women, what it means to be a woman, and how women have shaped the entire world, even if a lot of the world likes to pretend like they didn't. Especially now that it's 2017 and the President of the United States has openly admitted to groping and sexually assaulting women. I mean, if that doesn't want to make you grab your daughter by the hand and celebrate International Women's Day, what will?
So in honor of girl power, here are 15 ways to celebrate International Women's Day with your daughter. You don't have to be crafty or have a plethora of knowledge on badass women to make it work, but you will have a blast and feel good about all you're introducing your daughter to. If both of you end up feeling empowered and inspired, then you made the day work.
1. Read About Women
This is an obvious one, but knowledge is power. My own daughter has a book full of stories about women and every night she says, "Let's read about the girls." There are tons of feminist books for kids, but my recommendation is Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women ($14) by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo. With 100 bedtime stories, each one is focused on a woman who was a total badass and is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. They are quick reads, but pack a lot of punch and will leave both you and your little girl inspired for the day.
2. Volunteer Together
International Women's Day is a big deal, so there's a chance your city is already planning some kind of volunteer opportunities. But you can volunteer in other ways on this day specifically. Talk to a local library about hosting a story time featuring strong girl characters. Reach out to your local Planned Parenthood and see how you can volunteer. Go to a women and children's shelter in you area, and donate hygiene products like pads and tampons, food, clothing, or even toys. When your daughter sees the difference women can make together, especially for other women, she'll feel empowered to keep that attitude going.
3. Reenact Famous Speeches Given By Women
Maybe because I used to be an actor and my kid is obsessed with reciting entire movie scenes, but this idea sounds like so much fun and a great activity. Might I suggest finding a transcript of Hillary Clinton's concession speech or Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman?" speech to really spread the idea of inclusivity and feminism for all. Some incredible poems can work, too, like Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman." Pick something that means a lot to you and your daughter and let her stand proud behind a makeshift podium and deliver it to you and your family.
4. Pick Out A New, Empowering Toy
Every kid loves a toy and there are plenty of kick ass, empowering toys out there like an astronaut costume ($17) or a chemistry set ($32). These kinds of toys can reiterate what your little girl should already know: she can do and be anything she wants to be. There's no shame in loving Barbies or toy kitchens either, but it's always nice to have some diversity in the toy box.
5. Play Career Day
Remember those empowering toys? Throw some together and play career day with your girl. Does she want to be a writer? Research some incredible women writers and talk about them. Does she want to be a scientist? Talk to her about the statistics. According to the Unesco Institute for Statistics, in 2013, women researchers accounted for only 32 percent of full-time and part-time researchers in North America. You can talk to her about how her career choice may be in a male-dominated field and how women have had to push through the stereotypes to pave the way for girls like her.
6. Watch A Girl Power Movie
Because there's plenty of them out there. For younger ones, Mulan is always a favorite about a badass woman saving China and Star Wars: The Force Awakens proves that girls truly run the world. (And the galaxy.) For older daughters, Hidden Figures is the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three African-American women working at NASA and their contributions to one of the biggest missions in the world — orbiting John Glenn into space.
7. Go On A Scavenger Hunt For Things Made Possible By A Woman
Who doesn't love a scavenger hunt? There are a lot of things out there that are only made possible because a woman made them to be, so scope some out with your daughter so she can see the work in action. Check out a toy store to see the board game Monopoly and talk about how Elizabeth Magie was the original inventor of the game. (And then talk about how a man, Charles Darrow, is credited for the idea more than she is.) Go to the doctor's office and have a conversation about the medical syringe, invented by a woman named Letitia Geer, and how it makes it easier for doctors to give patients medicine. Grab a treat at your favorite ice cream shop and learn about how Nancy Johnson invented the ice cream maker or just point at your computer and give a lesson on Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.
8. Write To Your Representatives
Because International Women's Day is the best time to make a difference for all the women in your life. Grab some pens and postcards and sit down with your daughter to fire off letters to your representatives. You can also write some nice cards to the women you're stoked to see in office like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
9. Give Out "Wages" Based On The Pay Gap
This activity may not be fun, but it can be an incredible visual and learning experience. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, in 2015, full-time year-round working women only made 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Count out 80 cents and compare it to a dollar on the table, for the same amount of work, so your daughter can get a visual sense of the injustices women still face. To highlight how that number changes for black and Hispanic women, take away the money until you have the wage gap represented for women of color. Your little girl will be ready for fight for justice.
10. Create Vision Boards
International Women's Day didn't happen because somebody willed it to happen. It happened through hard work and perseverance. To give your child that sense of motivation and determination, create a vision board with her. According to The Huffington Post, visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do, so to fill your girl's mind with dreams and empowering women, create a vision board in the name of International Women's Day. Use affirmative, uplifting language in the words and find women who mean something to her, whether it's a favorite author or singer, so she remembers that women are important.
11. Ask About Her Dreams & Goals
Have you ever talked to your daughter about her real dreams and goals? With younger kids, it can be tough. My kid would probably say something like eat more cookies. But for kids who are in pre-school or older, it's a fun way to hear how they view the world and what they expect for themselves.
12. List All The Reasons Why It's Great To Be A Woman
Because there's a lot. Get a big poster board and make a list so when she's having a bad day, like if someone tells her girls can't play baseball, she can pull it out and remember everything great about herself.
13. Pick A Topic & Heavily Research Some Women Involved In It
Does your daughter have a hobby or favorite topic? If she loves NASA and space, talk about Katherine Johnson, the NASA research mathematician responsible for Alan Shepard's mission on Freedom 7 and helped put John Glenn into orbit. If she's interested in television, talk about the women who pioneered their way into the industry like Mary Tyler Moore. There's so many women who have heavily influenced every facet of the world, so it won't be hard to find a topic she loves and a woman to inspire her.
14. Wear White & Purple
Hillary Clinton has received a lot of recognition for the clothing she wears in the past few weeks, but it's actually a good thing. She's been seen in purple during her concession speech and white at the Inauguration and both represent the colors of the suffragette movement, according to History.com. The Huffington Post reported that even during President Trump's most recent speech to Congress, all of the democratic women wore white as a symbol of feminism and as a nod to the suffragettes. So don your favorite purple and white on International Women's Day to make a similar statement.
15. Focus On The #BeBoldForChange Campaign
This year, the International Women's Day message is #BeBoldForChange. The official website for the day stated, "Call on the masses or call on yourself to forge a better working world — a more inclusive, gender equal world." The website has some ideas for you to follow through with, like how to take action to campaign against violence or how to challenge bias and inequality. Talk to your daughter about what it means to be bold for change and try some of the ideas the International Women's Day website shared.