International Women’s Day: 8th March 2018

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality. IWD is celebrated on 8th March every year. The day has been observed since the early 1900s, as women’s oppression and inequality was driving women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. In 1911 there were rallies attended by both women and men, demanding women’s right to vote and work, hold public office, have vocational training and end job discrimination. Although there have clearly been considerable improvements since then, the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings have revealed that gender equality is actually over 200 years away.

Why is gender equality important in the workplace?

• Women who work often reinvest in better futures for themselves, their family and community, meaning that equal pay is particularly crucial. • When women and girls see relevant role models they aspire to, this motivates and inspires them to achieve their potential. • Employers who have progressive work cultures are incredibly valuable in our society.

This year’s campaign theme

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. There is a strong, growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support, demonstrated by recent movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp. However, there is still more that can be done to progress gender equality – friends, colleagues and whole communities can be motivated and united to think, act and be gender inclusive. As International Women’s Day is not country, group or organisation specific, it means the day belongs to everyone, and collectively we can all press for progress.

How your office can get involved

There are numerous ways in which your office can get involved in pressing for progress and International Women’s Day. Join in on social media. Using the hashtags #PressforProgress and #IWD2018 you can share pictures demonstrating your commitment to gender equality. The IWD website and social media channels will share the most engaging ones, and there are some selfie cards which you can download. You can also join in on the IWD Thunderclap, which will post a single message to your social media account at 1pm on 8th March. Put up posters in the office. There are #PressforProgress posters that you can download - you can ask colleagues to have a think about what progressive actions they can take and write them on the posters. Go to IWD events. There are many IWD events happening all the over the UK and Ireland, including the following. London: ACCA Women's South East network event London: Local government future leaders (speed mentoring event) Birmingham: The Year of Love (activities) Sheffield: SheFest (city-wide Fringe Festival) Leeds: Empowering Women in Healthcare (includes exhibitors and networking) Manchester: Afternoon tea to celebrate women (with a guest speaker) Swansea: ACCA Swansea & West Wales Networking Event Glasgow: Women in Banking & Finance: Networking Evening Northern Ireland & Dublin: Women Aloud NI 2018 (series of literary events) Enter IWD awards. There are numerous awards that are run to support IWD, celebrate women’s achievements and increase their visibility. For instance, the International Women Photographers Award invites amateur and professional women photographers from all over the world to enter by submitting a set of ten photographs, as well as their biography and some text about their work. To find out more about how you or your office can get involved with International Women’s Day, there is further information available on the IWD website.

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