International Women’s Day 2021 has an incredibly powerful message: Choose to challenge. Change can be incredibly hard to achieve, which is why it’s so important that we as individuals and as businesses take action to challenge and create change. It is each of our responsibility to call out gender bias and inequality, to celebrate women’s achievements and to create an inclusive world.
Our thoughts, actions and words are our responsibility every single day. Awareness of the change needed enables us to actively challenge and create change.
As far as we have come to obtain gender equality, here and now in 2021 gender bias is still seen far too frequently within the working environment. It is still not uncommon for pregnant women to be fired during time off for child bearing, nor for women to be paid less, given less benefits and overlooked for promotions compared to their male counterparts according to the Forbes article.
With concerns that the pandemic has worsened many of the existing inequalities that exist, it has never been more important to choose to challenge. The Guardian reported that more than 70% of working mothers who requested furlough for childcare reasons were refused during the pandemic resulting in many having no choice but to leave their jobs after using up all their paid and unpaid holiday allowances.
“Anna Whitehouse, otherwise known as Mother Pukka author of ‘Parenting the Sh*t out of Life’ said working parents were being asked to do the impossible, adding: “This unpaid labour is mainly strapped to female shoulders because - for all the International Women’s Days Sellotaped together - that’s the current working world we live in,” she said. “The system needs to step up for parents before we step back to the 1950s.””
So choose to challenge today, and every day.
Our team have shared their choose to challenge statements and female heroes. We’d love to hear yours too!
I’m going to be posting every day this week about my female heroes of sustainability, of which there are many, but if I have to pick one it will be Nadya Zhexembayeva, author of “Overfished Ocean Strategy” who showed me how sustainability can be a powerful force for innovation.
My ‘choose to challenge’ is “I will celebrate women’s achievements”
My favourite Woman's achievement is Ellen MacArthur both for being the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe which is an inspirational achievement but also for setting up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which develops and promotes the idea of a circular economy.
My 'choose to challenge' is "I will call out gendered actions or assumptions"
My female hero would be Michelle Obama, for becoming the first black first lady in America and for breaking free of the social, race and gender stereotypes she faced.
My 'choose to challenge' is, "I will forge positive visibility of women."
My female hero is Captain Janeway of Star Trek Voyager for how she inspired many women to enter science based careers. I think that’s a pretty awesome achievement.
My choose to challenge is “I will have conversations and share information in support of trans women”
My female hero and inspiration is Anna Kendrick for having followed her passion even when it didn’t come easy. She created her own success in an area she was genuinely and truly passionate. Her story has taught me that with perseverance, passion and hard work you can achieve your goals, but it has also taught me that it’s ok to have difficult times, to not know what you’re doing and be human!
My Choose to challenge is “To celebrate women’s success and build up women”