By Ana Lewis
Every year, on March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). When we full-on ran our community website, womenontheverge.net, this would be our busiest, highest web traffic day of the year. And every single year, we would get hacked on this very day. One year it got so bad, we got 86’d from our web host provider because we took down the entire server bank.
Yes, we did get a lot of attention on IWD, mostly due to the fact that we were a global, inclusive, supportive community for women. But IWD also got us on Marie Claire and kiva.org as micro lenders for women business owners worldwide. (NOTE: Anyone can become a micro lender at kiva.org and we encourage you to do it, too. It’s extremely easy to open an account and start lending right away. If you have $25, you can loan that over and over again.)
We averaged about two million hits per month, so we were already using tons of bandwidth, but IWD was extra special.
I often asked myself why we were so vulnerable to attack. Were we, as an online women’s community, indicative of how vulnerable women are in real life?
My research tells me that this may very well be the case. We, as individual women and organizations that support and aid women internationally, are under attack (and fighting back):
Founded in 1916 on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams — no ceilings, no limits. They now have to have a specific website based on the attacks that they have had on basic funding.
According to the UN News, in 2017, Front Line Defenders recorded that 44 women human rights defenders were killed. Moreover, sexual violence, defamation and intimidation, including against their family members, are being used as a deterrent.
According to the United Nations, one of every three women on the planet will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime. These attacks inspired the non-profit V-Day—a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.
If you really want to dive deep into the problem, take a look at Women’s Media Center Women Under Siege. This will illustrate just how rampant this problem is. It also has many inspiring articles about women all around the globe who are finding brilliant ways to combat and transcend obstacles and oppression.
#MeToo held 201 men in power accountable; nearly half of their replacements are women.
Mentalfloss provided a comprehensive list last year on IWD that still holds today. From Legal defense to donating business clothes that help women dress for success, this list has something for everyone wanting to get involved on any level.
What I believe is if we all do our part to support and honor our sisters and realize—with eyes wide open—that we can make a difference, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.
To quote the quintessential Maya Angelou: