I think it is important for us to celebrate women everywhere, all over the world, and to recognise the progress that has been achieved, and to give thanks for all the courageous women who have fought so hard for equality: to promote a position of legal and social equality of women with men.
Celebrating women's achievements and increasing visibility, whilst calling out inequality is key. IWD is about so many things. It's about celebrating women forging change; it's about elevating the visibility of creative women; it's about building the sort of workplace where women can thrive; it's about improving equality for women in Tech; it's about empowering women's choices in health, and applauding equality for women in sport. These are all the Missions for 2023.
We also need men to be our allies in this quest - both in the workplace and at home. Leadership drives progress, so it goes without saying that if the majority of leaders and those holding top positions, are men, then their activity plays a crucial part in overcoming gender disparity. There are stages of 'allyship' from men - from being apathetic at one end of the scale (having no understanding of the issues) to being an advocate at the other end of the scale (being committed to proactively championing the inclusion of women). Here are a couple of facts!
77% of men report doing everything they can to support gender equality so work. However, only 41% of women agreed with that.
48% of men felt there had been a positive increase in men's awareness around the discrimination that women face. However, 60% of both men and women agreed that it was rare to see men speak out against discrimination.
I am fortunate that my husband is a true Ally and a proud Feminist. He worked tirelessly promoting anti-domestic violence campaigns in the 80's. Today he works for our local County Council and puts a special emphasis on making our streets safe for women. He believed that sexism was generational, and couldn't believe the stories that my granddaughter tells him of men of her generation. In fact, he gets very upset about it.
Of course, we are seeing a steady increase in women's leadership positions across the business world. But when we look at the actual data, women being taken on in leadership positions, are working in Industries where they are highly represented anyway. There is still a significant disparity in the Industries of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
At this stage, I have to admit that I, personally, now take an even greater interest in this subject, and that is because my amazing Number 1 granddaughter is such a strong advocate for women's equality.
Older readers of my Blog will know that my granddaughter and her best friend (after gaining their Masters at IE University) launched their own Tech based Company three years ago, where they help Companies to prevent, report and resolve workplace misconduct. They also provide a platform whereby employees can report any sort of harassment in the workplace.
She has a real passion for the Tech Industry and why girls should get into this important and ever growing Industry. In fact, she is already mentoring to get more girls and women involved.
This pic was taken last week for a Podcast hosted by Jo Youle @theresetrebel, where Eleanor was interviewed on starting up her own Company, and her career to date.
I am beyond proud that my granddaughter has chosen to go down this route, and how she is actively empowering women to find their voices in the workplace, the tech place, and to speak up and report incidents of misconduct, abuse, and feelings of inequality.
My number 2 granddaughter is only 13, but I can see already that she will become another strong advocate for women.
Now for the 'proud grandma' moment! No 1 granddaughter was invited, and will be giving a speech to NATO in Brussels TODAY! The Conference, in aid of IWD, is entitled "Innovators and Game Changers : Women in Tech Shaping The Future".
Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy Post! I'll close by wishing all you amazing women out there, a very Happy International Women's Day. Be proud of who you are!