March: International Women’s Day
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is an internationally recognised day that takes place in March of each year which focusses on empowering women and offering a platform for their achievements to be recognised. According to the IWD campaign’s website, it ‘is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.’ And from an employment perspective, the campaign’s objective is to ‘forge inclusive work cultures where women’s careers thrive and their achievements are celebrated.’
Each year, a theme is chosen. For example, last year’s theme was #breakthebias, whereas this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. (www.internationalwomensday.com)The Dictionary definition of Equity is ‘the quality of being fair or impartial,’ (www.dictionary.com) and, in essence, is what this campaign is working towards, equality for women everywhere. By recognising this day, and bringing it to the fore, both employers and individuals can help spread the word, encourage equality, and ensure that everyone is treated on their merits, not on their gender, ‘creating an inclusive world.’ (www.internationalwomensday.com)
How can the workplace highlight the importance of International Women’s Day
Employers have the potential to encourage equality for all. They can raise awareness by obtaining event packs from the International Women’s Day website, via www.internationalwomensday.com. Also, employers could offer training courses that are designed to spread awareness and bring to the fore of any issues that might arise. Training courses, such as those provided by Joyful Living, can ‘help businesses thrive by improving team dynamics, happiness, motivation and engagement in the workplace.’ Courses such as these can be a positive step forward in ‘creating an inclusive culture in the workplace and a successful business.’ (Joyful Living)
Coral Horn, Founder of Pink Link, offers a platform where businesswomen should feel ‘part of a friendly, proactive network of women from all sectors. Business owners, freelancers, employees of all ages and experiences from all over the UK.’ There are also women-only business awards ceremonies, designed to reward and ‘to recognise the achievement of these women across a wide range of business categories.’ such as the Best Businesswomen Awards (bestbusinesswomenawards.com) and Coral Horn’s introduction of the Enterprise Vision Awards. (enterprisevisionawards.co.uk)
Progression so far…
Awareness of inequality and a desire for change contribute to progression. Historically, women have often been the ones who take a career break to raise children/care for others, and in doing so, often result in earning less/working less hours than those of the opposite sex. However, the government are recognising this distinction and making efforts to rectify this, for example, last year, on International Women’s Day, 2022, the Minister for Women introduced ‘a new initiative [that] will seek to improve pay transparency in the job application process and help businesses who want to go even further in attracting women to their positions.’ (www.gov.uk)
Historically, women in power have been in the minority, but this appears to be changing, with women like Jacinda Ardern, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Kamala Harris, Deputy President of the United States, and our own Queen Elizabeth II, who have all shown strength, dignity, and compassion in their roles. Even in light of her recent resignation, Jacinda Arden stated that, “I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused.’ (www.bbc.co.uk) These women, along many others, are paving the way forward for women worldwide to feel empowered, and following that, are given equal opportunities to highlight their skills and expertise.
International Women’s Day is due to take place this year, on Wednesday March 8th, 2023, and it is an opportunity for businesses and individuals to show their willingness to #EmbraceEquity. By raising awareness of this campaign, it offers everyone a chance to learn, improve, and celebrate women. It is a day where “Everyone everywhere can play a part.” (www.internationalwomensday.com)