Inspiring change for International Women's Day

International Women's Day is Saturday, March 8, and to celebrate the occasion we put together this self-quiz highlighting some interesting facts about the observance. If you're bold enough to give it a go, you'll find answers that surprise you.

Note the letter that represents your answers:

1) How many countries have declared International Women's Day an official holiday?
A. 27
B. 12
C. none

2) How many of those countries give both women and men the day off from work?
A. 24
B. 12
C. none

3) The United States, Britain, France and Japan are not included in the countries that observe the official holiday.
A. True*
B. False
(*Of the top ten countries generally considered to be the most powerful in the world the only two to declare International Women's Day an official holiday are Russia and China.)

Intl Womens Day stamp.jpg

4) Why do we have an International Women's Day and no International Men's Day?
A. Because even with all the successes women have enjoyed over the last several decades, they still lag behind men in salary parity, business and political representation, and the enjoyment of a safe and secure environment in their own homes and in public.
B. Because businesses can sell a lot of greeting cards and flowers.
C. Because we need another holiday.

Now tally up your answers and count the number of each letter. If you found that you have all "A" answers, congratulations; you've boldly found your way to a perfect score. And maybe along the way, you learned a little bit about an observation that is over a hundred years old but gets only a brief nod of recognition in many of the so-called progressive and industrialized countries of the world.

Even after President Barack Obama designated the entire month of March as Women's History Month in the United States, the observation receives little media coverage, and the events that are organized go unnoticed by the majority of both women and men in the country. But that does nothing to deter the thousands of women who go on to make their mark on the world every year in ways that open doors for other women around the world.

Every year, when I research information for International Women's Day, I'm excited to find new and inspiring stories about fearless female trailblazers in the world of sports, politics, and business. But the stories of quiet determination inspire me the most. The stories about women who calmly go about their business creating and inventing, the ones about women who work their way up to leadership roles in finance and economics, the ones who leave an indelible mark on the culture through their passionate dedication to a cause or interest that drives them ... These are the stories that motivate me. They make me realize that women have been a force for change throughout history and their contributions are just beginning.

Women who epitomize determination and passion can be found in every field, but here are a few modern era trailblazers who personify the characteristics.

Dorothea Lange: Lange was famous for her Depression Era photographs that depicted the poverty and desperation of migrant workers.

Georgia O'Keefe: One of the most famous American artists of the 20th century, her representations of the American West are instantly recognizable and iconic. The Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to the work of a single female American artist.

Michelle Obama: The current First Lady of the United States, Ms. Obama has been an inspiration to millions, as she has graciously embraced her role as the first black woman to hold that title.

Michelle Obama.jpg

The world of women's poker has also given us some amazing examples of women who have not only excelled in a sport that was traditionally male, but have scored dramatic wins by utilizing their instincts and analytical skills in a game that was previously dominated by testosterone-fueled bravado and bluster. Here are a couple of our current Team PokerStars Pros who are doing just that.

Vanessa Selbst: The Team PokerStars Pro has blazed a trail through poker history and to the top of the all-time female money list, currently at over $9.5 million dollars. A graduate of Yale Law School, she devotes time to social justice cases when she's not destroying the competition at the poker table.

Vanessa Selbst.jpg

Celina Lin: This dedicated Team PokerStars Pro is the unprecedented holder of two Red Dragon Main Event titles and the first-ever female winner of the Macau Cup.

To all the inspiring women of the world who work every day to make the world a better place and mark the trail for the rest of us as we try to find our way, we celebrate you and your accomplishments.

*****

Our Women of the World series features some of the world's most powerful women to inspire you even more.
Angela Merkel
Hillary Clinton
Diana Nyad
Wendy Davis

And check out this article discussing how poker changes lives for women.

Happy International Women's Day to all of you.

Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women