Today, we are celebrating International Women’s Day. The 2022 theme for IWD is #Breakthebias. The campaign is about spreading awareness about gender bias, and call for equality for women. The aim is to create a world that is free from gender discrimination or stereotypes. This day is celebrated by people all over the world to share the cultural, political, social, and economic achievements made by women over the last century.
Where did it all start
The movement initially started in 1908 when over 15,000 women marched together through the streets of New York to demand change. They wanted to have the ability to vote, have better work hours and be entitled to better pay.
Two years later in 1910, the idea of an annual march was put forward by a woman from Copenhagen named Clara Zetkin. Her suggestion would see groups of women from 17 different countries take the idea on board. Shortly after, a selection of countries including Austria, Germany & Switzerland took the opportunity to start celebrating women around the world one day each year.
Eventually, after 60 long years, international women’s day was made an official event by the United Nations. Over time, the annual event has gained a following from all corners of the world with over 60 countries including the UK showing its support to the campaign.
The one day a year celebration is deemed by the United Nations as one of the most important days of the year. The day is used to:
- Raise awareness for equality for women
- Celebrate achievements made by women
- Fundraise for women focused charities
- Accelerate the awareness for gender parity
Break the Bias, what are the facts?
Although there has been progression over the years with regards to equal rights for women, there are still some barriers in the way for women and girls alike. A common issue within workplaces is that there is a level of bias when it comes to the staff who are employed. This gender bias can often be unconscious, as a result of societal opinions that have been ingrained for millenia. However, without the correct action in place, it can have several negative effects on women.
Progression in a job can be highly impacted by gender bias. We know this is a current issue as still to this day approximately only 35% of employees holding directorships within businesses’ are women.
With help from this campaign, there is hope that job roles that are commonly more associated with men will soon also include an equal number of women.
The equal pay act was introduced in 2010 to ensure that women and men are paid equally if in the same occupation. Although this act has been in place for over a decade, many women are still subject to a gender pay gap. Sadly, this is a reality for women across the UK as in 2021 it was reported that there is still a pay gap of 15.4%.
Currently in the UK, there are protection rights set out to ensure pregnant women are treated fairly in the workplace. However, many women face discrimination and negative comments from fellow employees or employers throughout their pregnancy journey. Although under the equality act 2010, it states that a woman cannot be dismissed from a job simply because of falling pregnant, it still happens. To read more about this, please head over to Pregnant then Screwed – a charity in which Sweet Cecily’s supports through the sales of our New Mum Survival Kit.
How to make a change
For many women around the world, there is still a huge amount of changes that need to take place in order to end gender discrimination and inequality. Last year, a group of women were asked for their opinion on if they believe that gender equality has been achieved for equal pay. Only 23% of the women questioned said that they feel enough has been done for equal pay. However almost half of the women said there is more that needs to be done (48%).
There are various ways that employers can break the bias and help to make a positive change in the workplace, they include;
Hiring more women. By reducing the gap of the male to female ratio in the workplace, businesses may see a boost to its growth. Women can bring new skill sets and techniques to the table which will see a company progress.
Retaining women ran jobs and helping them to develop and progress in their positions. This will help to show women that they are appreciated and valued as an employee in their job.
Offering equal opportunities for women. Providing a woman with the same opportunities as a male has shown to increase a business’s economic growth. Additionally, companies that offer equal opportunities to women tend to attract a higher level of talent.
The Team at Sweet Cecily’s
Here at Sweet Cecily’s HQ, we are a team of 3 women. Although we share the building with our sister companies BeeVital & Herbal Apothecary who are predominantly ran by men, our side of the business is women only.
I have worked in many different work settings with the one at Sweet Cecily’s being by far my favourite. I feel that as a team of only women, we empower each other to succeed and all three of us are there to offer support and friendship. We are all incredibly close and keep in touch with each other even when we’re not at work!
For us, International Women’s Day is extremely important to celebrate and raise awareness for female equality. We are proud to fly the flag for women in business however, we know there is still lots of change needed to happen to see women all around the world be treated as equal.
International Woman’s Day has helped to make many changes over the past century. However, there is still so much more that needs to be done to stop gender discrimination.
For resources and advice all about IWD, check out their website