13 patriarchy-busting reasons to feel proud AND optimistic on International Women's Day.

The good, the great, and the downright empowering.

March 8 is International Women's Day: one day in 365 where we celebrate the achievements and aspirations of the gender that makes up half of the human population of our planet.

The patriarchy is hilarious! Image via iStock.


We also get a hashtag.

This year, when it seems like every second headline is filled with bad news for women, it is easy to dismiss International Women's Day as meaningless. After all, we've been celebrating a form of it since at least 1909, and we're still justifying why women should be allowed to bust ghosts. If we can't even get that sorted, how far have we come?


The power of Patty compelled me to share this. Image via "Ghostbusters."

Women have come really far. No, seriously. Really, super far.

Any way you look at it — in education, health, politics, and culture — women are making big leaps forward. Here's how:

More women are getting an education than ever before.

1. U.S. women are serious about higher learning.

Image via iStock. Fact source: Census.

2. STEM isn't a boy's club anymore.

STEM (short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) used to be the most male-dominated career field. Not anymore. Image va iStock. Fact source: Census.

3. Call it the Malala effect: Pakistani schoolgirls are getting easier access to education.

Image via iStock.

Female politicians aren't a rarity any more.

4. After decades of activism, political progress is happening in India.

Image via iStock.

5. Canada has a new government that's serious about gender parity.

Image via iStock.

6. Female politicians are breaking the highest glass ceilings all over the world.

Fact source: Pew Research Center.

We've made huge leaps forward in female health care and in protecting newborn babies.

7. Having beautiful, healthy babies is safer than ever before.


Image via iStock. Fact source: World Health Organization.

8. Birth control is here for women who want it.

Image via iStock. Fact source: United Nations.

Female entertainers are making more and doing more.

9. A once-in-a-generation female voice is breaking 15-year-old sales records.

Adele sold 8.08 million albums in just six weeks in 2015. Fact source: Billboard.

10. Local libraries are stocked with female authors.

Female authors also wrote three of 2015's top five best-selling nonfiction books. Image via Lukas.Bo/Flickr. Fact source: Publishers Weekly.

Women are fighting big battles — and winning them.

11. Laggard governments are taking action on violence against women.

Image via Joachim Huber/Flickr. Fact source: UNFPA.

12. New laws will let little girls stay kids as long as they want.

Image via Erik Torner/Flickr. Fact source: The Guardian.

And women in America are turning up when it really matters.

13. American women are serious about democracy.

Image via iStock. Fact source: Census.

All of these figures are encouraging, but they're definitely not a sign that women need to step back and take a break.

Because, when it comes down to it, who run the world?


I know, SPOILER ALERT, but it's still generally dudes, and they're still generally white. Image via "Lip Sync Battle."

Even with great leaps forward, there are so, so many more ways women are still unequal: We still make, on average, 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. We are less likely to become CEOs. We are, in some U.S. states, rapidly seeing male politicians restrict our ability to make our own reproductive health choices. We need politicians and law enforcement to get serious about justice for victims of violence and rape, and we need to be ready to stand in our power and replace them if they won't stand up for us.

And, let's be really real — white feminists like me are only just starting to recognize the ways fighting for feminist equality can marginalize women of color, and we're not doing nearly enough to address it. Women deserve more than a day, a week, or even a month of recognition for us to collectively get closer to where we should rightfully be.

But all that said, I'm still celebrating International Women's Day today. Because the way I see it, making a big-ass deal out of the one day we do get is just another way to remind everyone that we deserve so much more.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's