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International Women’s Day
As world-renowned feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem wrote, "the story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." This notion encapsulates the true essence of International Women’s Day, and even more so through this year’s theme, ‘Choose To Challenge’; because an challenged world is an alert world. Even today when it may feel like there are more women in business and more girls in school, the harsh reality is the world is far from reaching gender equality. In 2019 the proportion of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29% [i], which is the highest number recorded. Whilst it is encouraging to see the percentage rise, it is also evident we are very far from reaching an equal split. Globally 130 million girls are missing out on school [ii] and a report from the UN in 2020 stated a third of the world’s poorest girls, aged between 10 and 18, never go to school. [iii]
Those stats may feel overwhelming, but it brings home the importance of continuing to challenge gender norms and why International Women’s Day is so important. And as Gloria says herself, the good news is that we all have the ability to do something about it. Whatever role you have in the home and your work is important and part of your story. We hope this short piece will inspire you to own what you do, #choosetochallenge and lift other women up with you.
What is International Women’s Day?
Let’s rewind just a second – what actually is International Women’s Day? Marked annually on the 8th March, it’s a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a key day to raise awareness for gender equality in every facet of life today. There are three central beliefs which underpin the work of International Women’s Day, but one sticks out as something we can all do, any day of the year. ‘Identifying, celebrating and increasing visibility of women’s achievements’. These achievements can be big or small and we have power in applauding them.
How can I celebrate and increase visibility of women’s achievements?
There are a few really easy things you can do to lift other women up, whilst also applauding yourself (because let’s not forget that’s important too!)
- Support women’s charities – making a one-off donation or a monthly donation can make a huge difference to women and girls right across the world.
- Buy something from a female owned business. There are women right across the UK and beyond running incredible businesses. Seek some of them out and support them by buying a product, if you can. There will be a female business owner somewhere doing a happy dance!
- Applaud your female colleagues, family and friends – verbalise why you think they are brilliant. It sounds small but when you think about it, you may realise you haven’t actually said out loud how great you think they are. Even just verbalising this to them is a step towards gender parity.
- Share the work of women publicly and privately. If you love a book by a female author for example, share it with your friends and family. Steps like this increase female visibility within our own communities.
- Shout about female success online. Share articles/quotes/anecdotes.
- Choose to challenge – if you notice a woman not being treated fairly, whether that’s the way she is being spoken to, what she is being paid etc then challenge it. Speak up. We have the power to make change every day by challenging behaviour.
There is power in sharing the stories of women
It’s important to remember that every single facet of a women’s life is worth celebrating – not just those in business or the workplace. “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide," wrote Morgan Harper Nichols and this is so true. A mountain can come in so many different forms – and all of these are valid and worthy.
So this International Women’s Day we urge you to think about what you can do to raise the profile of women and celebrate their successes, whilst thinking how you can #ChooseToChallenge.
What are you going to do this International Women’s Day?