Monday is International Women's day.
It's been recognized since the early 1900s and is a day to raise awareness about the many obstacles women still deal with. It's also a day to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness about women's equality and fundraise for female-focused charities.
This year's theme is 'Choose to Challenge.' The International Women's Day website says a “challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.”
You can post your own message to social media using the #ChooseToChallenge.
Here in North Texas, The Dallas Foundation is highlighting the importance of celebrating and supporting women in our own community.
“I think on days like International Women’s Day [we should] pause and think about the ways that we are amplifying those voices of underrepresented groups so that they can feel a sense of inclusion and belonging,” said Kezia Stegemoeller, Senior Director of Donor Engagement, Philanthropic Partnerships for the Dallas Foundation.
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The organization acts as a bridge between donors and the nonprofits they want to bringing crucial resources to.
Stegemoeller and her team have some big things planned this month, including the kick-off of the 2021 Women's Philanthropy Institute.
Each year, dozens of donors come together to visit several nonprofits and charities that benefit women and other causes. Grant money is then distributed directly to those groups.
Stegemoeller herself used to lead a nonprofit that received a grant from the institute and recalls the impact it had on her as a person.
“I still remember that presentation and looking out into the crowd and seeing so many engaged, community-minded women who wanted to make a difference. I locked eyes with one woman, in particular, she was nodding her head and she came up to me afterward, her name was Pat. And she said, 'I’m so proud of you did such a great job.' and that really meant something to me,” she said.
Stegemoeller is a mom of twin girls. She wants them to grow up understanding that when people lift up women, they lift up the community.
“Start teaching the lessons of advocacy in support of women at a young age,” she said. “I really think often about the world that they’re coming up in. Who will advocate for them?”
March also marks Women’s History Month.
On Monday, President Joe Biden is set to deliver remarks on International Women's Day along with vice president Kamala Harris, the first female vice president of the United States. The secretary of defense, along with other dignitaries will join the remarks scheduled to begin at 3:20 p.m. Monday.
The Dallas Foundation is encouraging everyone to support women in their communities and personal lives.
“I would encourage people to educate themselves on the accomplishments of women throughout the last century. In addition to the challenges that women have faced,” Stegemoeller said. “The idea is to think about the way their own biases might show up in everyday life. Everywhere from the board room to their book club – check those biases is at the door so that we’re not underestimating women or any group of people.”
If you would like to give to a cause or charity supporting women in North Texas, visit dallasfoundation.org to connect with a nonprofit in need.
"Find organizations that support women in Dallas that have a meaningful connection to you. For example, you may feel drawn to support a women’s shelter, or a group that helps women prepare for interviews/the professional world," Stegemoller said. "If you find a women-related cause that you are passionate about, you are more likely to stay engaged and get involved on a personal level."