So, International Women’s Day (IWD) is fast approaching (Sunday 8th March), which also happens to be my mum’s birthday (and a big one this year – the big old 6-0!) – sorry mum! It’s quite apt really that it falls on this day as I consider my mum to be one of the strongest and most resilient women that I know! She raised my sister and I as a single parent and has always been there for us both, through the ups and the lows and there’s been a few of each!
IWD started when the Socialist Party of America organised a Women’s day in New York in Feb, 1909. A German revolutionary, Clara Zetkin proposed at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference that the 8th March be honoured as a day annually in memory of working women. The day has been celebrated as IWD ever since.
This year’s theme is #EachforEqual – An equal world is an enabled world. Taken from the IWD site, they describe it as:
“Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
Let’s all be #EachforEqual.”
Over the last year we’ve seen so many people stand up for what they believe in – we’ve only got to look at the “Me Too” campaign or Greta Thunberg campaigning on behalf of climate change.
We’ve also seen more focus on gender equality and the introduction of Gender Pay Gap Reporting (2017), for organisations with 250 or more employees. There’s more focus on getting more women on boards and into senior positions and gender equality is really essential for communities and economies to survive.
We live in a world where both partners need to work (in most scenarios) and slowly, more and more women have been encouraged into more typically ‘male dominated’ sectors/roles (look at things like sports broadcasting, women on boards and more women entering sectors like engineering and science). But it is hard. I know from my own experiences, it’s hard. In my last fully employed role as a HR Director, I was the only woman UK Director at the time, and it is difficult. You do have to push that bit harder to be taken seriously and to be listened to, and often to work much harder than some of your male counterparts to be seen/recognised as valuable.
For those that have childcare commitments, it must be even harder as it’s often still frowned upon or noticed if you leave early (whether you then put your laptop on later on not), or arrive late due to school runs.
IWD 2020 is supporting a number of missions to help become more gender equal. Examples include:
- Championing women in tech;
- Applauding equality for women athletes;
- Promoting more inclusive workplaces, so women thrive;
- Supporting women to earn on their own terms;
- Empowering women through health education; and
- Increasing visibility for women creatives.
Making a more equal world is down to us all – every . single . individual.
So, what can YOU do to promote equality and make this a more equal world?