March 8th is International Women’s Day, an occasion that has been in existence for over 100 years. It’s a day of rallies, marches, exhibits, speeches, business events, and more. It’s a day to celebrate women’s achievements in every facet of life and to strive for where we have yet to get to. This year’s campaign (2018) is #PressforProgress. It’s a hashtag that’s been lighting up Twitter and blogs but what exactly does it mean?
Reaching for Gender Parity
The hashtag #PressforProgress is a call to join together to encourage and create gender inclusive environments. Gender inclusive means to be open to anyone, rather than just a select group. Being all-welcoming to any gender, whether it’s a workplace, government body, educational facility or anywhere else is the goal.
But how to get there? It takes all ages and all people from the community to support this goal. We’re getting there, especially with the rise of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and speeches like that of Frances McDormand at the 2018 Oscars when she encouraged all female nominees to stand and for Hollywood to back more women’s stories.
The reality is there’s still a ways to go, though. The 2017 Global Gender Gap Report reports that “gender parity across the world will take over two centuries, 217 years to be exact.” Gender inclusiveness is happening in health and education, cites this Report, but it’s slow in work environments and politics.
There needs to be a push to put women into positions where they are leaders, across a range of industries and at different company levels. This involves not only a shift in hiring practices – for racialized immigrant women, for example – but also more women going for the next level (sometimes in spite of being felt they are “less” than men or feeling at risk for losing their current jobs if they speak up about promotions). This also may involve meeting employees regularly meeting with their supervisors to map out their careers, which can help women see opportunities available to them in the upper ranks and help them become more visible too.
Also, more organizations need to emphasize child care and focus on providing women (and men) benefits such as time off for specific family events. After all, females cannot drop their families for their career – that’s just not fair. If organizations want more women in leadership roles, then some of these changes would be beneficial. Yes, it requires effort on the part of the business, but women bring a lot to the table, provided they feel they can speak up in meetings and other workspaces. In other words, it’s worth the effort.
A more diverse leadership base would be great to see. Not only because fair representation is what we deserve but also because discrimination isn’t right. Plus, gender diversity has been found to have economic benefits, boost innovation, and improve how the organization runs.
— Women’s Day (@womensday) March 7, 2018
More about #PressforProgress
As part of International Women’s Day, let’s press for progress to reach gender equality in the workforce as we stick to this year’s theme. Women still face workplace discrimination here in Canada. Yes, women typically make 74 cents to every dollar made by men in the country where I live. Women still aren’t reaching those notable leadership roles, and that’s a problem! It’s not only resulting in lower income for females but also is a barrier to buying a house and, sadly, abused women may not have the money to pay rent if they leave their abusers and so stay in violent situations.
Bettering the working conditions of women is something that needs to be a priority worldwide. And it starts right in our own communities. While we cheer on female achievements on March 8th, International Women’s Day, we also must continue to press for progress in the labor force. Find out more about 2018 International Women’s Day events happening across the globe and remember that if we all unite, then we can push for gender parity as a unit, which has the potential to truly make a difference.
No matter where you are, who you are, or how powerful your influence – you can #PressforProgress by taking tangible action to help accelerate women’s equality. Start with being inspired by this https://t.co/QkTWSBPgKv for #IWD2018 pic.twitter.com/OobgKpjb8F
— Women’s Day (@womensday) March 7, 2018