I’ve started this column a dozen times — not because I don’t have enough content to draw from, but because there is so much content to draw from.

Friday, March 8, is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is “Invest in Women: Accelerating Progress.” Investing in women just makes sense, doesn’t it? And it can be done in so, so many ways.

A decade ago, former Utah state Sen. Pat Jones started a new project: the Women’s Leadership Institute. The Women’s Leadership Institute focused first on getting more women on corporate boards, then on getting more women in elected office, then on nurturing up-and-coming female leaders. The institute began the “ElevateHer Challenge,” a challenge accepted by over 300 Utah companies including Bonneville International, Deseret News, Intermountain Health, Thread Wallets and Zions Bank and tied with the WLI Career Development training program. Next was the “ElectHer” initiative, supported by their political development training program. The “Rising Leader” training is taught by alumna of the career development training and is building tomorrow’s leaders. The institute’s tagline today is “The additive value of women.”

Investing in women can look like having family friendly workplaces, with accessible, affordable child care, returnship opportunities and a variety of flexible work options. We know, for example, that remote work helps women and in turn, helps their families. Why, as Susan Madsen recently wrote, would we want to go backward on that?

International Women's Day: Is it really a day for all women?

We could also rightly call women “Multipliers,” the title of a book by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown. Multipliers can “have a resoundingly positive and profitable effect on organizations — getting more done with fewer resources, developing and attracting talent, and cultivating new ideas and energy to drive organizational change and innovation.”

More than a decade ago, McKinsey published its report, “The Business of Empowering Women,” which presented a case for why and “how the private sector should intensify its engagement in the economic empowerment of women in developing countries and emerging markets.”

“Skilled women who hold jobs and enjoy a meaningful status in their communities and countries are healthier and more productive,” the authors wrote, “and they make their societies healthier and more productive.”

That’s the business model, of course. But investing in women who work in the “family model” is powerful too.

I spent more than 30 years “in the trenches” of motherhood and let me tell you: It was harder than getting a Ph.D., harder than having a full-time paid job — and the hours were much, much longer. What would “investing in women” who are raising the next generation (or the one after that) look like? It might look like a Utah tax credit for families with children under age 4. It could look like investing in doulas to support pregnant and postpartum women, or investing in mental health resources for moms. And wouldn’t it be great if there were free parenting classes to help mothers improve their skills? (Hint: There are.)

I don’t want to downplay financially investing in women in any way, but I do want to note there are other ways to invest in women as well. Be a mentor, lift another women coming up behind you, be part of a circle of friends that celebrates, encourages and even challenges each other, use your voice to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, invest in educating girls and women and yes, invest in yourself.

We can invest in telling women’s stories. RootsTech 2024 was last week and one of the presentations I was able to catch was the RootsTech Impact Forum with researchers Robyn Fivush and Jody Koenig Kellas on the power of family stories. RootsTeach always offers classes in how to find the silent women in our family tree. “Mrs. John Smith” did in fact have a name and a history of her own. One of the stories I learned a while back was that my paternal grandmother was a “Rosie” during World War II in the Bremerton shipyards. My siblings had no idea.

We can also invest in women who are contention de-escaltors, stonecatchers and peace builders. In fact, peace demonstrations are what set the stage for International Women’s Day. A massive protest in Russia in 1917 led to the country’s eventual withdrawal from the war, reports The Associated Press. “On Feb. 23 in Russia, which was March 8 in Western Europe, women went out on the streets and protested for bread and peace,” said Kristen Ghodsee, professor and chair of Russian and East European studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Demonstrators included widows, wives and mothers of men who died or were injured during the war. “The authorities weren’t able to stop them, and then, once the men saw that the women were out on the streets, all of the workers started coming and joining the women.”

Research shows repeatedly that investing in women in a myriad of ways leads to better family stability, increased family economic status, decreased incidences of domestic violence, healthier children, more peaceful communities and yes, even the discovery of the DNA double helix.

But it shouldn’t take research for you to know that investing in women is the right thing to do. It just makes sense.