"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights," world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem once said.
West Michigan unites to celebrate International Women's Day on February 28, 2018, at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. Running from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the event encourages women to be unstoppable.
To provoke, perform and inspire.
"This year ... especially with everything that's been going on in the political space and nonpolitical space about women's rights and equity and equality, we really wanted something that was strong and encouraging to women," said Becky Miller, Associate Talent Development Specialist II at Amway and project manager for the International Women's Day event.
"There's nothing more encouraging than being unstoppable. You can do what you want to do, how you want to do it, and when you want to do it—by being who you are. You shouldn't have to change."
International Women's Day engages and equips both men and women in the conversation and development of gender equity.
"Women equity is everyone's issue," Miller said. "Men play an important role. We're all allies. Women want men to succeed and men want women to succeed ... When you can have a conversation with both parties, that's how progress can be made."
The event will feature two keynote speakers: Jeffrey Halter, president of YWomen, and Dr. Debbye Turner Bell, former Miss America, will address how to be effective workplace allies. The event will also offer a panel moderated by Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and four breakout sessions on topics including networking, failing well, self-acceptance and a values-driven life.
"We really want women and men to walk away with tools and feel equipped to be able to take on their personal aspirations, career aspirations," Miller said. "We took a look at what it takes to be unstoppable. By really taking a look at this theme, what are the challenges women face?"
International Women's Day has been celebrated globally since the early 1900s and was first recognized by the United Nations in 1975. The celebration of International Women's Day in West Michigan began with 200 participants in 2012 as an internal event at Amway. Each year, it grew to include more individuals and more companies. Last year—the first year the event was open to the public—witnessed 540 men and women rallying together to support development toward gender equity in the workplace.
"Today, men and women across the globe are celebrating. They're fighting for basic human rights still. Here in West Michigan, in the U.S., we are so fortunate that those are not part of our challenges—but we still haven't reached full gender equity in the workplace," Miller said.
"We can work together to be bold and drive those positive changes."
Learn more about the 2018 International Women's Day and register online at amwayeventregistration.com.