Amanda’s Corner: International Women’s Day

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amanda's cornerBesides your usual Saturday routine of coffee, activities, chill time and hanging out with friends and fam, make some room for an awesome holiday tomorrow called International Women’s Day.

Happening every year on March 8, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time way back in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19 (it moved to March 8 two years later). The idea was to campaign for a woman’s right to vote, as well as fair working conditions and labor legislation for women, and the event has since spread in celebration across the world, according to its website.

Last year, I wrote about some fun ways to celebrate and reflect on International Women’s Day. While those definitely still apply, now I’m writing about things that women and girls can do today (at least in the developed world—women and girls in developing countries are getting there!). Action words. Because we’re taking on gender equality to show the world what we’ve got!

Voting: We’ve come a long way! More than a century ago, women couldn’t vote. Nil. Nadda. In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to allow adult women to vote. Other countries began to follow suit, and the United States passed the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote. Now, women in the Vatican and Saudi Arabia still cannot vote, though Saudia Arabia plans to let Saudi women vote in 2015 elections. I’ve voted in two elections since turning 18, and it is always an exciting opportunity that I am thankful for.

Driving: To celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s drive with the windows down today, singing along to the radio—if we can drive, that is. Maybe you can’t drive because you aren’t quite old enough, but you’ve got a license in your future. But if you are a female in Saudi Arabia, then you can’t drive because, well, you’re female. Saudi Arabia has no specific law against women behind the wheel, but they can’t obtain drivers’ licenses. In October, over 60 Saudi women showed their drive in a way unheard of in the country previously—they decided to go out and drive cars. I admire their bravery and hope that their actions will help pay the way for a law allowing female drivers’ licenses. Driving makes me feel free, in control and exhilarated, and I hope that more Saudi women will get to experience these feelings, too.

Coding: One of my goals this year is to learn how to code. I’m on my computer so much that I’m interested to learn the components that make up the programs and web sites that I use day-to-day. Who’s with me? Women and girls have been in the minority when it comes to computer science jobs, but organizations like Girls Who Code are working to build gender equality within the field. Some more awesome females-in-tech news? In University of California, Berkley’s introductory computer science class, female students outnumber males, 106 to 104, for the first time in history! While it is an anomaly compared to the makeup of most other U.S. computer science classes, it’s a step in the right direction. Also, meet Instagram’s first female engineer, Brina Lee. So inspiring!

Happy (Almost) International Women’s Day! How are you celebrating?

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