Today we have been celebrating women across our company and the women in our lives that inspire us. But what is the real reason behind it all?
International Women’s Day has been around for 108 years, with this year’s theme being #balanceforbetter. Today is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women everywhere. However, it’s also about campaigning for a more gender balanced world.
In 1911 the first International Women’s Day was marked in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland where more than one million women and men attended rallies. They were protesting for the right to vote, to hold public office, women’s rights to work, vocational training and to end discrimination at work.
In 2017 and 2018 we saw International Women’s Day as the most discussed topic on Facebook and now in 2019, we can all continue to play a critical role in creating a more gender-balanced world as we work towards a #balanceforbetter.
Whilst our female colleagues here at Network Marketing are treated equally and fairly across the company, there are many women across the world that are not. Our very own Gen Larkin, self-confessed equalist, talks about why we still need days like today.
Why do you think IWD is necessary?
“Women’s equality has come such a long way over the past 100 years, how could we not celebrate that? IWD started in 1911 when, in the UK and across the world women didn’t have rights to their own bodies, their children and to vote, amongst other things, all of which we now take for granted. We live in a country where women now have a considerably better quality of life but unfortunately the rights we have are not universal and there is still work to be done.
Here are a few examples:
- There are 15 million girls of primary school age who do not have the opportunity to access a basic education compared to about 10 million boys
- Women hold 24% of seats in parliament
- Women lead 13 of 195 countries
- Tampons are STILL taxed as a luxury item. 1 in 10 girls in the UK can’t afford menstrual products
What would you say to people who think that IWD is for man-bashing?
This is a total misconception and it’s such a shame that mainstream media has led people to feel this way. We need men, we love men! John Stuart Mill was the first British member of parliament to introduce a bill calling for women to receive the vote in 1866. Where would we be without men like this? Men are also just as much victims of institutionalised sexism as women.
Fun fact - Men who call themselves feminists include Prince Harry, Patrick Stewart, Harry Radcliffe and Will Smith.
What can other companies or individuals do to help?
Well firstly I’d like to say that I am fortunate enough to work in a company where I don’t feel I am ostracised for being a woman at all. Freedom of speech and celebrating these kinds of occasions are hugely encouraged at Network Marketing!
We thought a lot about what we could do to help and we found Leeds Woman’s Aid. This is a charity set up to protect women and families affected by the damage that domestic violence can inflict.
They said what they needed most were food donations and school uniforms. Everyone’s been great at clubbing together for this and it’s something most people could do. Apart from looking into this kind of thing, I would say its everyone’s responsibility to be aware of the global issues 365 days of the year.
Lastly, celebrate the women in your life, those who have taught you, loved you, inspired you, entertained you, talked to you, and raised you.”