For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has been an important holiday across the world that celebrates the achievements of women throughout history, as well as advocating for further progress towards gender parity in the present. As we reflect on the rich history of women, it is important that we do not allow ourselves to have a vision that is tunneled only to our immediate surroundings and our own communities.
In developed countries like the United States, some can easily overlook the importance of International Women’s Day because they have not personally experienced extreme depravity or known a life where opportunities have been withheld from them. As women, it is important that our fights for the future are expansive and inclusive to all women, not just those that we can directly relate to.
A great, simple step towards accomplishing this is by choosing to support brands and companies that are using their power and influence to create change in the lives of women. One of my favorite companies to support, knowing the work they are doing in the lives of women, is Coca-Cola. Through their 5by20 initiative, which was launched in 2010, Coca-Cola has created programs to encourage and support women entrepreneurs in over 60 different countries throughout the world.
The ultimate goal of the 5by20 initiative is that 5 million women will have received support by the year 2020. More than just giving aid in the form of temporary fixes, Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative provides women with education, mentoring, financial resources, and other tools that have the goals of sustainability and self-sufficiency in mind. Here is an introduction to how Coca-Cola will be celebrating International Women’s Day this year:
Outside of directly buying Coca-Cola products, 5by20 also offers the opportunity to support the individual women who have been influenced by the initiative by buying the beautiful products that these empowered women have created out of things such as Coca-Cola labels and soda can pull tabs. The profound beauty that these female artisans craft out of unlikely materials is truly amazing. One of my favorite products is this gorgeous handbag made out of pull tabs from soda cans.
For me, one of the greatest parts of these products is that they each hold a unique story. For example, the handbag featured above is made in the city of Manila in the Philippines by the Philippine Community Fund (a partner of 5by20). The production of these handbags provides job opportunities to women in Manila, such as Jocelyn Pacrin, who is a single mother of four. Because of the opportunity that 5by20 created in the Philippines, Jocelyn was able to receive an education and find an outlet for her creativity, which has allowed for her to fully support her family on her own.
It is important to highlight that Jocelyn’s story is just one of many. At the end of 2015, the 5by20 initiative had already impacted 1.2 million women throughout the world. It is in my hopes that the exposure to Jocelyn and Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative will remind you why International Women’s Day is important.
I hope that you feel inspired and encouraged to continue to fight for women across the world, no matter how different their struggles and lives are from yours. By supporting Coca-Cola and their 5by20 initiative not only are you fortifying the lives of women, you are also amplifying the sound of their personal stories that are begging to be told. Get a glimpse into some of these stories below.
Disclosure: I received products from Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own