Celebrating International Women's Day Every Day

I'd like to imagine a world in which every day is a celebration of women. A world where it is commonplace to uplift, encourage, and champion women. A world in which women earn as much as men, have affordable access to quality healthcare and childcare, make their own decisions about their bodies, can decide not to get married and no one will think they are sad, stop saying sorry for other people's mistakes, be taken seriously, stop trying to meet unrealistic beauty standards designed to make them feel bad about themselves, receive an education, not be survivors of gender-based violence...
I know. It's a lot to ask. Perhaps that's why we are still demanding all of these things nearly 50 years after the United Nations officially declared March 8th as International Women's Day and 100 years after it first came to be. I'm a fan, obviously, and I'm also not one to sit around and wait for those guys to figure it out. 
That's one reason why I started Zawadisha more than a decade ago. I knew that Kenyan women were smart, capable, resilient, and determined. All I needed to do was help build the ladder and they would climb it. The women in our community have certainly reached new heights—they are sending their children to school, they are buying plots of land, they are investing in the health of their families, and they are living more comfortable lives. 
Inspire Inclusion is this year's theme for International Women's Day, and that's just what we do daily at Zawadisha: We take action to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where all women are valued and respected. One of the impacts of our work is that women in the community gain respect because they are the ones responsible for bringing the solar lamps, water tanks, iron sheets, and mattresses (made possible by loans from Zawadisha) into the homes. The women have access to improving their family's lives in a way that men don't. And that has shifted things for them. 
I'm often asked if this creates tension in the home or in the community. And the answer is, NO. There is the occasional man who will man (as they do), but by and large, our work and our team are so respected. We have wonderful relationships with husbands, fathers, brothers, elected leaders, business owners, and local chiefs. 
We're incredibly proud and honored to embody the radical roots of International Women's Day where women demanded more than what society told them they should settle for. At Zawadisha, women are treated as full human beings who are capable of making their own decisions. We provide them with the tools they need to live more prosperous, healthy, and joyful lives.
And we want to do more of that. Help us fund our next round of loans today by donating to Zawadisha. Let's make this International Women's Day more than a talking point. Let's make it about change.
Jen Gurecki, she/her, Founder of Zawadisha