Celebrate International Women’s Day!
If you’d like to mark International Women’s Day today there are many things you can do.
You could join thousands of people on bridges all over the world (http://joinmeonthebridge.org) coming together to campaign for peace and women’s equality. The nearest one to the Hub takes place on Millennium Bridge from 10.30am and will be followed by a Speed Mentoring session to mark the start of the Southbank’s WOW festival. After marching for equality you could spend the rest of the day absorbing the Women’s Day activities at the Hub, starting with the Hub IWD lunch and moving onto a talk and Q & A with the founder of Gateway Women and a series of film screenings on women-related issues around the world. Or, if you prefer to stay desk-based, you could ponder some recent findings on the best and worst places to be a woman, which gives a poor record of progress on equality for women in the UK, or the slow progress on women getting representation in the boardroom.
But despite gloomy statistics there is plenty to celebrate, not least the recognition of the importance of female empowerment and equality for economic growth, greater prosperity and the overall wellbeing of society, and of the benefits of diversity in decision-making within businesses and government. There is a recognition that female-focused policies – such as quotas – are necessary and work, as evidenced in Norway, and projects focused on increasing the number of female entrepreneurs are bearing fruit, both internationally, with schemes such as the 10,000 Women Campaign, partnered by Goldman Sachs, and national projects such as the Women’s International Centre for Economic Development in Liverpool.
But possibly the best thing you could do this Women’s Day is to read this powerful blog from Christine Lagarde, now head of the IMF, on how the current economic crisis would be playing out if women, not men, had been at the helm of some of the key businesses, if Lehman Sisters rather than Lehman Brothers had been at the centre of the crisis. She makes a powerful case for women playing a greater role in bringing forth a new economy that is more responsible and equitable, and for the efforts of the few females involved in managing the crisis to be recognized and celebrated. As she says, quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.’
Happy Women’s Day!