For many years, Women in all walks of life, have had to struggle to make a mark. Often having to outperform Men by 2:1 just to be seen, and then not even accepted for their contribution and achievements.
Having worked in the retail sector, and for the past 9 years in the Telecoms industry , it lifts my heart to finally see genuine opportunities and change coming into the employment market and overall work culture.
You can change laws, bring in rules or even force people to make change, but without the buy-in and the acknowledgement that there is an issue that needs to be resolved – change seldom happens.
I am not asking for any form of special treatment, just parity.
International Women’s Day for me is about a celebration of where we are now, but also to reflect upon the miles we still need to travel to make an inclusive society for all genders.
You can see that social change is happening just in the language of some simple quotes by prominent women throughout the decades….
“Well-behaved women rarely make history.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“A charming woman doesn’t follow the crowd; she is herself.” – Loretta Young
“The best protection any woman can have is courage.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“Where there is a woman, there is magic.” – Ntozake Shange
“A girl should be two things: Who and what she wants.” – Coco Chanel
“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” – Hillary Clinton
This final quote by Hilary Clinton – a lady who has seen for herself first-hand at the very top of International Government in the free world, how men have tried to curtail the progress and development of women – gives hope to us all that recognition of the skills and qualities we are able to bring are an “untapped reservoir”.
My own personal journey has provided me with an insight into the gender-divide. Having worked on the retail floor where it was 80%+ women, to then an office environment where we were 90% men… and the suppliers where 90 + male, I certainly had to change my approach to adapt to the office culture. But with colleagues that value you as a person and not as a gender, I found it easier than so many women before me to get on with the job in hand.
I have been very fortunate that so many ladies before me have stood up and demanded change – this over many, many years has started to flatten the path, but there is still a journey to educate not just a workforce, but at school and an educational level where traits are often formed that will carry through to careers.
International Women’s Day for me is about standing up, being counted and saying to everybody – We count and work as equals – if we do this, I hope that in years to come there is no more International Women’s Day but and International Day for all.