Since 1975, International Women’s Day (IWD) has been celebrated each year on March 8 to commemorate the movement for women’s rights and to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Celanese joined the celebration this year by focusing on the progress we’ve made in building an engaged and inclusive culture and challenged employees to be a catalyst for change with the goal to promote advocacy and motivate employees to raise awareness about equality for women.

With the help of our wonderful ladies in the Women’s Impact Network (WIN), here’s a colorful recap of our global IWD programs.

Around WIN-Asia sites, women and men joined together to celebrate IWD. Although Women’s Day became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a manner similar to a combination of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, people showed incredible passion and engagement in the topic of “advocacy in action.”

“The American company culture encourages speaking up, but it needs practice especially for Asians. I learned today that when we seek advice, advocate for others or things we feel passionate about, talk about our specialized areas, we feel more powerful to speak up,” said Yuanyuan Zhou, Sr. Lead Testing and Analytics in Shanghai and Leader of the Community Involvement committee at Shanghai WIN.

With almost 100% attendance, WIN-Singapore’s IWD event was incredibly successful. The presentations and interactive sessions helped lots of women discover their “hidden” strengths, while learning about themselves (and others).

Being a certified yoga instructor myself, I feel a personal urge to mention that WIN-India’s IWD event focused on self-development associated with health and wellness. They invited a well-known yoga teacher to give employees a two-hour session on the benefits of yoga, including a demonstration of simple exercises that employees can do even in the office during breaks.

As for IWD events in Mexico, there’s been a shift from political protests to peaceful celebrations. I asked Diana Navarrete, Community Relations Coordinator from the Cangrejera site.

We celebrated this commemorative day with two talks focusing on engagement and on how we can find the balance between our job, family, relations and health. I was most grateful to see how many enthusiastic men participated actively in those talks.

Regardless of our gender, such events provide a great opportunity for self-improvement. We learned that focusing on developing ourselves, our knowledge and abilities, and by joining our efforts and adding up our unique skills and qualities, we could break through any obstacles.”

This day in United States is celebrated by volunteering in the community and paying tribute to women. March is known as Women’s History month with many informal and formal events organized all across the country.

Some of our Florence, Kentucky, employees decided to go off-site and reach out to the community. The volunteer activities in the morning set the tone for the day, and everyone was eager to contribute to the breakout sessions after lunch, discussing work-life balance and career development in one group, and gender equality in the other. Everyone had the chance to take part in both sessions, and then in a keynote presentation on Advocacy in Action.

“The day concluded with everyone filling out their Call to Action cards, followed by an hour of appetizers and networking. Each attendee received a bracelet from Sashka Co., an organization that supports and empowers female artisans in Nepal to earn a living wage and rise out of poverty,” added Emily Blackburn, Testing and Analytics Manager.

Our European colleagues have also taken an active part in the IWD celebrations. The Amsterdam, Sulzbach and Frankfurt sites recently hosted a gender equality event called EU Woman Dialogue. The WIN group mobilized all EU locations starting already last year with a series of open lectures and networking events where female leaders from different EU locations shared their experience, best practices and challenges revolving around gender equality, balancing workplace duties with family commitments and career advancement focusing on female employees in the chemical industry. Many sites prepared small gifts and organized fun evenings out and interesting panel discussions around how “Advocacy in Action” can be realized in everyday life.

“As a nationwide feature, women traditionally receive flowers from men on that day as a symbol of appreciation and respect towards feminine values. Schoolchildren, college students, friends and family, employers and politicians – everyone is preparing flowers for the girls, ladies, mothers, wives, sisters and female colleagues around them to express their gratitude,” said Ági Károlyi, Global AR OPEX Lead from Budapest.

On behalf of all the women of Celanese, I would like to say “Thank You” for all the enthusiastic organizers who put forth tremendous efforts in making the events of these two days happen. On such days, we are again all reminded how rewarding it is to be a WOMAN.