In 1848, a historic assembly of women gathered in Seneca Falls, NY at the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This assembly was the first women’s rights convention organized by women. It was here that 68 women and 32 men signed the Declaration of Sentiments – a document called “the grand movement for attaining the civil, social, political and religious rights of women.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”
Fast-forward 62 years to 1910, when German revolutionary Clara Zetkin proposed that March 8 be honored as a day annually for women around the world. The day has been celebrated as International Women’s Day (IWD) ever since and became officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975.
Fast-forward 110 more years to present-day. Women and men all across the world celebrate International Women’s Day and, in some nations, the day is celebrated as a public holiday. In Seattle, the organization Be Bold, headed by Kate Isler and Nickie Smith, spearheads the annual celebration in March. The non-profit works to build an intersectional community for women to share stories and support each other, and to take bold action to accelerate gender parity.
Five years ago, Isler and Smith decided to host a gathering to celebrate IWD. They gathered 80 attendees in the basement of a WeWork in Seattle. What began as a passion project has quickly become a major annual Seattle event and the organization behind it all, Be Bold, is widely recognized around the nation. The IWD event is now held at Beneroya Hall each year and continues to grow rapidly. This year’s celebration will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
Be Bold’s core mission centers on lifting up women and driving gender parity by encouraging women to share their stories, to support and inspire one another. Isler says, “We are asking women to tell their bold stories. The more we tell each other and lock arms to support one another, the better off we are going to be.”
It is also one of the key elements of the March 5th gathering – the featured panelists and speakers share their “bold stories” to the attendees to encourage them to be bold and take action.
One new element of the celebration this year will be the launch of a referral program called “Take Action.” The Be Bold team has curated a list of organizations (both for-profit and nonprofit) that share the passion to promote gender parity – and offer avenues for people to volunteer and donate.
Another major focus of this year’s event will be to encourage women to participate in the election process by voting as well as getting involved. Since the beginning, Be Bold has highlighted women in public service roles – from the King County Sheriff, Mitzi Johanknech, to the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, Denise Juneau.
The top five public service jobs in the Seattle area are held by women: City of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce, Sheriff Johanknech and Superintendent Juneau. In Bellevue, three out of the seven city councilmembers are women while in Seattle six of the nine councilmemembers are women. In Olympia, 41.5 percent of our state legislature is comprised of females.
“We have gained the confidence and support of women and we are beginning to understand more clearly what motivates them. It has changed the face of how we celebrate. Now it’s about taking action. We need women not only to share their stories, but to get involved and vote.”
Find more information about Be Bold and the March 5th celebration at bboldnow.com or on social media @BeBoldNow0308.
"I believe that Women gain equality not couple by couple but by changing culture, and we change culture by sharing our stories." -Melinda Gates
Bold Stories (page 3):
“The power of BOLD positive thinking, my supportive family and friends, my faith, and lots of laughter helped me through those final years of heart failure.” -Kathy Schmidt
“I saw a need, I knew I was the right person for the job, and I knew I could make a difference. All I had to do was believe in myself and make a bold move.” -Maddie Heye
“Admitting that I have at times been my own worst enemy and choosing not to dwell in that past, but rather create a brighter future for myself by empowering others, is my new truth.” -Christie Lawler
How to get involved (page 4):
1. Take Action – get involved with one of the businesses listed on the website or recommend a business or organization that supports women and need volunteers, financial or material donations or patronage of a business that is women-owned.
2. Share your Bold Story – being bold is something that most women do every day. Join the community by sharing your bold story to inspire and support and celebrate other women.