Writer Lauren Windle has a few thoughts on the subject …

There are a lot of things that are worthy of our attention. Every charity, cause, marginalised group and now even foodstuff, has a day, week or month in its honour.

Did you know that we are currently coming to the end of British Pie Week? I hope that inspires you to wrestle with your puff pastry and dig in this weekend.

But among the PR campaigns and Hallmark Cards profit-boosting events, there are some that deserve our serious attention. The issue with ignoring events like Black History Month, International Women’s Day or even Valentine’s Day is that we miss an important prompt.

In theory, we should all recognise our partner and those we love every day, but in a world where we are prone to taking things for granted, Valentines is a helpful reminder. Ideally, we would all be fully aware of the history and struggle of those around us from different backgrounds and ethnicities, but Black History Month provides an invitation to remember and reflect.

And so that brings me on to International Women’s Day. ‘But when’s International Men’s Day?!’ I hear you cry. It’s 19th November. Although, there is a case to argue that every day is International Men’s Day. Ooh – too punchy? Possibly.

As Christians, we take our lead from Jesus

But the reality is: the world has been designed around men. Car safety is measured with male-sized crash dummies, medicines are trialled on men more often than women, as our hormones make the results more difficult to interpret, and even thermostats are set to the optimum temperature for men to thrive (which is colder than for the average woman).

As Christians, we take our lead from Jesus – a man who did not need International Women’s Day to recognise that women were being oppressed and to push back against the norms of his day.

When society said not to educate women, he allowed them to come and learn from him. When society said an adulterous woman should be punished more harshly than her male bedpartner, he said: ‘Let any one of you who is without sin throw the first stone.’ When the world said that a bleeding woman was unclean and should be kept away from the community, he praised the woman who came to him and touched him out of faith.

Jesus didn’t need International Women’s Day because he spent every day focused on supporting the oppressed. I would love it if we could do the same, but in reality, we become distracted by our own busy schedules and lives. That’s why we need the day. It’s the prompt we need to recognise that some women struggle as a result of their sex.

I would encourage you to mark the occasion with a simple prayer: ‘Lord, give me spiritual eyes to see if there are women around me who need my support, love, and care. Help me to recognise those who need a boost in church, work and at home. Help me to honour the women in my life and champion them. Amen.’

• Lauren Windle is author of Notes on Feminism: being a woman in a church led by men (SPCK)