“I don’t agree with International Women’s Day”.
This sentence was spoken by a friend who works in a very senior position within a male-dominated industry. It wasn’t until this statement was put into context that we understood her perspective. “I don’t agree with it because we shouldn’t need it. We should be equal and therefore have no need for it”. And we completely agree, yet we aren’t equal, not yet. If all IWD does is make a male colleague appreciate the females in his life, whether that be at home or work and influence a future decision, then it is worth it.
IWD allows us to celebrate our successes and shout about our achievements, something that doesn’t always come naturally to women. Our fear is of coming across as arrogant or self-promoting, when in fact all we’re doing is sharing. We should embrace the day with all we have.
Whilst we are fortunate in the UK that we have a more progressive IWD celebration than some countries, we still have a lot to strive for. The percentage of women in STEM professions is just 17%, the gender pay gap disparity, the lack of females in senior positions in the Boardroom.
Not only are we empowering women to want more in their careers but we know the importance of getting businesses onside. After all, what is IWD if businesses don’t embrace it as well?
We know that at the same time as IWD being a hugely positive day, it also stirs up feelings of resentment and anger, we’ve had some great pieces of advice from our contributors, but one really resonates with me about this. Anne Summers, former Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police said: “Don’t let anger and emotion get in the way of achieving your aim.”
Our aim is clear, our motives true, so let’s work together to change our expectations of ourselves and of business leaders and decision makers.