Yesterday all around the world, women of every colour, creed and race joined forces to celebrate International Women’s Day. Although we may not be where we want to be in terms of gender equality (The World Economic Forum states this won’t be achieved until 2186) there has been significant leaps made by women across all sectors of society and for that reason we need to celebrate.
Let’s start with the good:
Former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, became the first-ever woman nominated by a major party for the United States presidency and although she did not shatter the elusive glass ceiling and go on to scoop the title of President of the United States, she did win the popular vote. Politically, Hilary got farther than any woman in American history and during her concession speech continued to express her belief that someday a women will shatter that highest and hardest glass ceiling and become President of the United States, sooner than one might think.
Another positive reason to celebrate was the increase in the number of women starting their own businesses in Ireland. According to statistics from the Going for Growth Programme, 29% of start-ups in Ireland were female led in 2016, a 21% increase since 2011.
Another positive step,which we at Mediatraining.ie have personally witnessed, is the number of companies who are prioritising diversity and inclusion training for their teams. Companies both large and small are understanding the importance of this type of training within the workplace and are rolling out awareness programmes across all departments in a bid to highlight these important issues and tackle any problems head-on. AIB, Vodafone Ireland, EIR, Ernst and Young and KPMG are great examples of companies successfully running a diversity and inclusion programme for employees and clients.
And for the bad…
The overall aim of International Women’s Day is to achieve gender equality for women worldwide. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, predictions show we have got a long way to go in order to achieve this goal. Some of the main issues highlighted during the celebrations yesterday were:
- The gender pay gap still persists even though Irish females are staying in education for longer and qualifying with more degrees than their male counterparts.
- In the Dáil, only 22% of seats are occupied by women –this is an increase from the election in 2011, but still a long way from true equality.
- As official celebrations got underway, traffic in Dublin City Centre was brought to a standstill when thousands of women and men continued their protest for the removal of the constitutional ban on abortion.
We still have a lot of work to do, but everyone, including you can play your part in achieving true gender equality – hopefully much sooner than what the World Economic Forum is predicting.
So what can you do that might speed up the process?
- Invest in some quality gender diversity and inclusion training for you and your team. Knowledge is power and it’s important that everyone on your team is fully aware of the issues that can arise from a lack of understanding in all areas of gender diversity, inclusion, unconscious bias, stereotyping and all forms of discrimination.
- Help your fellow business woman climb that corporate ladder. Become a mentor, offer advice or simply act as a sympathetic ear when times are tough. As the saying goes “behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”.
- Support a charity or NGO who are actively providing educational opportunities for women and young girls, giving them the chance to truly change their lives and the lives of their families.
Collectively as women we have achieved many great things since International Women’s Day 2016. Let’s make 2017 the best one yet. #beboldforchange
To find out how you and your team can take part in a diversity and inclusion training programme contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 041-9829673