International Women’s Day, which takes place on 8th March each year, is an annual event that celebrates women around the globe and all the inspiring achievements women have made both historically and in today’s world. Having begun in 1910, International Women’s Day is a tribute to the amazing women who successfully campaigned for women’s rights.
In addition to being a celebration of women, it is also a great opportunity to reflect on and raise awareness of issues that women have faced historically and are still facing today such as inequality in education, lack of women in decision-making positions, gender inequality, sexism, racism, navigating careers and motherhood and many more.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity. Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful - providing equal opportunities for all - that’s very different from giving everyone the same thing to make them equal, which assumes that we all started out at the same place. Wrong! Equity is also not just a term thrown around as a ‘nice to have’, it’s a must-have and we need to shout out about that.
Celebrating International Women’s Day and embracing equity is something that we can all take part in. We can all challenge gender discrimination, gender stereotypes, unconscious bias and exclusion. In this blog article, we will share with you our top 5 reasons to celebrate International Women’s Day in 2023.
It is so important to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of women historically and today and to express gratitude for all their successes which have paved the way for some of the opportunities that we enjoy today. Celebrating International Women’s Day is a great way to show your support for, and champion women whether that is in the workplace, at home, or among your colleagues, friends, and family.
International Women’s Day should be part of a commitment to building inclusive workplaces so that women feel included, safe, equal and valued. Not only for female employees but all employees of different races, sexualities and identification. Recognising and celebrating International Women’s Day is just one way of demonstrating your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
It is an opportunity to flag up and raise awareness of some of the issues that women are still facing in the workplace and beyond. Namely, women are still consistently paid less and promoted less than male colleagues globally. According to the European Commission, the gender pay gap in the EU was at 13.0 % in 2020 and has only changed minimally over the last decade. It means that women earn 13.0 % on average less per hour than men. Additionally, the gender employment gap was 10.8% in 2021, with 67.7 % of women across the EU being employed compared to 78.5% of men. According to a report by Catalyst, unfortunately, the higher up the corporate ladder the fewer the women. A 2020 analysis by Mercer of over 1,100 organizations across the world found a leaky pipeline for women in leadership with support staff at 47%, professionals at 42%, managers at 37%, senior managers at 29% and executives at 23%. According to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2022, that gender parity may not be achieved for a further 132 years. A shocking and worrying prospect.
International Women’s Day offers us an opportunity to champion women in technology and innovation. Currently, it is estimated that only 19% of the technology workforce are women. The deep and systematic inequalities women face in the workplace, particularly in the technology sector, are still alive and very real. Unless leaders take significant responsibility and action to address the systematic obstacles faced by women in the sector, nothing will change. There are many things CEOs and top leadership teams can do, from setting goals tied to monetary compensation to implementing sponsorship programmes, to setting up Employee Resources Groups, to supporting women-led organisations and vendors, to partnering with specialised gender diversity consultants. Many studies have demonstrated that leaders must now move from cheap talk to meaningful action. Women can also build their own network by attending meetups, networking events and other conferences, using LinkedIn and attending virtual networking events.
Finally, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to educate our colleagues, daughters, wider family and young women around the globe about the issues we face as women, and that we need to come together, stand up #embraceequity and continue fighting for equity for the future.
Within the workplace, International Women’s Day should not just be a one-off celebration that comes and goes each year but should be part of a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Business leaders have an incredible opportunity to leverage diversity and inclusion as a tool to boost growth, drive business performance and expand market share. Companies taking action now to invest in diversity and inclusion will reap the benefits and enjoy more growth, better performances and a better reputation.