The Holiday You’ve Never Heard Of, And Why I Love It.

international-womens-dayThere’s a holiday coming up, and ladies, whether you know it or not, it’s your holiday!

This Saturday, March 8, is—drum roll please!—International Women’s Day.

Never heard of it?

You’re not alone; it’s definitely an under-celebrated holiday in the United States. That might be because when it started about a century ago, it was part of a Socialist movement, which made it a hard sell in this country. Since then, however, it has developed into what is simply a day to celebrate and uplift women and girls of all cultures, religions, and political affiliations. In many countries throughout the world, there are festivals, parties, and parades, and women and girls often receive flowers and chocolates.

Imagine a kind of cross between Mother’s Day and Valentines, but without regard to whether you have kids or a significant other.

It’s not technically an official holiday here in the U.S., but I’m enthusiastically adopting it nevertheless.

Despite the real challenges and hardships that women face throughout the world, they are a uniquely powerful force for change and advancement. I’ve experienced this myself in the corporate world, as I see women slowly but surely changing the way our society thinks about work and professional life. And I’ve heard story after story from aid workers, missionaries, and others about how women are the key to transformation of even the most desolate communities.

From board room to refugee camp, hospital to hovel, women are strong. We are capable. And together we can do great things.

So let me be the first to wish you a “Happy International Women’s Day!”

This year, Women’s Day has special meaning for me, because starting March 8th, and over the course of the following year, I’ll be serving as a mentor in the Bush Center Women’s Initiative Fellowship program. My mentee for the year is a bright and engaging Tunisian woman. I’ll be working closely with her over the coming months to help her develop her leadership skills and to work towards her professional goals. And—this is the part I’m most excited about—I’ll have the incredible opportunity to get to know and love a woman from a totally different culture and background.

I am beyond excited to get started, and I pray that I can be a positive force in this young woman’s life.

That’s how I’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day, 2014, do you have plans of your own? It’s not too late to make some! If you’re interested in securing a mentor (or mentee) of your own, consider applying for the 4word Mentor Match program. Or you can start small with Women’s Day, by inviting a girlfriend to lunch, writing an encouraging note for a coworker, or buying flowers for a neighbor.

For that matter, go ahead and buy some flowers for yourself!

Chocolates too, if you’re a chocolate kind of girl.

It is, after all, your day.