Why International Women's Day mattersBy Business Chicks | Mar 08, 17 04:07 PM
Yes, we still need a day
It's hard not to be disillusioned on this International Women's Day. It's hard not to wonder if we're making any progress. It's hard not to think of the suffragettes who have come before us and wonder if we've failed them. We've lost steam. We're busy. We're tired. We're nearly two decades into the 21st century and looking around thinking, 'Is this really how far we've come?'
We have record levels of homicide of women and domestic violence in Australia, 72 women were killed last year, yet cuts in funding towards the issue.
We have a US president who has bragged about sexually assaulting women. The same world leader signed an executive order blocking foreign aid or federal funding for international nongovernmental organisations that provide or "promote" abortions. A move he executed (along with every republican president since Ronald Reagan) while surrounded by an office full of men.
We're still being treated as second-class citizens in the workplace. We get paid $261.30 less per week for doing the exact same job a man does. The gender pay gap is closing, but as predicted by the World Economic Forum we won't reach parity for another 168 years. That's not in your daughter's lifetime or even your daughter's daughter's lifetime.
For all our leaning in, (or leaning out) and girl boss-ery (but not being too bossy), and for all our progress, it's often the 'second shift' that gets us. The childcare, the housework, and the unpaid work we're doing at home after our 9 to 5 ends.
We're being subjected to online abuse for having opinions, for calling out misogyny, for having no other agenda but to empower women, for writing articles like this one.
We’re at a point that when a radio station pushes an awesome lineup of all female talent it's called ‘tokenistic' rather than a celebration. When it's still unusual to hear women exclusively on the air for 24hrs.
We're a lot further behind that we expected to be, but let’s not be disheartened. Let’s use this to stay on top of our game, to challenge the status quo, to stay hungry and not simply accept the lot we’ve been given.
So yes, we still need a day. A day, which has been weeks and months in planning, strategy, and execution, by men and women to push for change: from businesses, from companies, from governments, from individuals and from you.
Our CEO, Olivia Ruello, offered her inspiration when she spoke at our International Women’s Day event in Sydney.
“I think it’s more important than ever that we understand those stats and we all understand our position in having the privilege we have to have a voice and to use it and to make a change,” Olivia says.
“So the reality is that we still have a long way to go here in Australia and overseas to achieve gender equality but that’s why it’s never mattered more that the theme for today is Be Bold For Change. Because Boldness begins with all of us. It’s a sum of the millions of actions we can all take.”
“We need to use our voice to march and be part of movements. Women in many countries don’t have that - and women in our own countries don’t have that - so we need to do that as well.
“Don’t discount the effect that you have as an individual. There has never been more groundswell and movement as there is now. A movement is nothing without individual action. So don’t ever discourage the effect you have.”
Today is our day. Today is the day. Stand up. Be bold. Be counted. Ask for that pay rise. Push for change. Back yourself for that promotion. Help a fellow woman in the workplace, because when we help each other step up, we all rise.