International Women’s Day
Why do we have an International Women’s Day?
While there are more women in the boardroom and an increase in women role models than in previous decades, at the current rate it would take 170 years to reach equality. I’m sure you will agree, whether you are male or female, that this is a shocking statistic.
Recently Parliament held an inquiry triggered by a petition started by a woman who was sent home from work without pay after she refused to wear high heels. The Government agrees that this dress code was unlawful but it appears that it is widespread in organisation’s. The conclusion was that the Equality Act 2010 is not yet fully effective. Awareness of this act needs to be increased both with employers and employees.
To increase awareness of International Women’s Day my employer held a conference. We had two guest speakers who spoke of their achievements in their careers and provided advice for aspiring women. This was really inspirational and gave me a few good ideas to help me in my career.
At this conference we had an interactive session where we discussed how forthcoming the organisation was with allowing flexible working. It became apparent that there is no consistency across the business and very much up to manager’s discretion. One statistic that came out of the session was that 41% of the female working population work part time in comparison to 21% of the male population, albeit this is steadily increasing in men. More males tend to have their requests for part time working rejected, why would this be? Are they unjustified requests or is it that men hold stronger positions in the workforce and therefore organisation’s feel there would be a greater impact to them.
International Women’s Day made me sit up and take notice of just how unequal we still are. While we have come a long way since 1928 when women over 21 were given the right to vote, we still have a long way to go but hopefully it won’t take 170 years!!
Of course the question on most men’s lips is “When is International Men’s Day?”