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Patricia O'Loughlin
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What Businesses Can Do to Honour International Women’s Day

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All across the world, countries are preparing for International Women’s Day tomorrow.

With women’s rights newly under threat in the US, Americans will be celebrating the event a little differently with ‘A Day Without a Woman’. According to Fortune.com, women will take the day off paid or unpaid labour to “show the vital role women play in both the domestic and global economy, and bring attention to other hardships women face: lower wages, sexual harassment, discrimination, job insecurity”.

In Ireland, hordes of people will take to the streets to protest against constitutional abortion laws in the ‘Strike4Repeal’.

Meanwhile, last Sunday saw Turkish women ignore government bans to peacefully march in a Women’s Day protest, while Saudi Arabia celebrated its first-ever women’s day last month.

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Evidently, the push for gender parity is a pressing topic that deserves acknowledgement, engagement and celebration. As such, it is vastly important that businesses join in on the global conversation to honour International Women’s Day and continue challenging issues of bias and inequality – past, present and future.

What can my business do?

Last year, Australia ranked 46th in the world for gender equality. Some of the major contributing factors for such dismal figures included lack of economic and professional opportunity for women. With the gender wage gap still very much in existence and men primarily dominating senior positions over women, the workforce can be a cesspool for instances of gender inequality to rear its ugly head.

While such issues can’t be resolved with a simple snap of the fingers, there are certain measures business leaders can implement to take a step in the right direction for gender parity this IWD.

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Highlight your female talent with a #BeBoldForChange campaign.

This year’s IWD theme is #BeBoldForChange, and there are plenty of campaigns you can climb aboard. Women’s careers website Where Women Work is showcasing the progressive activity of businesses supporting female talent, while General Assembly is running a campaign to encourage more women to get involved in technology and coding.

Encourage your employees to commit to action by building a ‘Bold Actions’ wall in the office.

Get the office talking about issues that are very real and very important by asking each department to make a pledge towards equality between the sexes. Write your pledges on IWD’s downloadable #BeBoldForChange posters and display them on your office walls. Don’t forget to snap a photo and post on your social channels with the accompanying #BeBoldForChange hashtag.

Host a raffle or bake sale to raise funds for womens’ and girls’ charities.

IWD is in association with multiple charity organisations whose aims are to make the world a better place for females. While the World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts has been IWD’s choice of charity for a number of years, there are many others you can get involved in that target vital issues such as campaigning against violence, advocating women’s education and generating inner growth for womankind through meditation.

Provide a catered luncheon for the women in your workplace.

To celebrate the women of your company on an intimate level, invite your female staff for a lunch. Keep it simple yet poignant: use the opportunity to generate a discussion among your employees about this important topic, and have one of your senior female managers give a short talk.

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Be the kind of company that empowers women and champions gender parity in a world where inequality still unfortunately reigns. Let’s help give women the opportunities they deserve and bring an end to the prickly gender bias that has clamped a firm grip on society for far too long.

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By Patricia O'Loughlin


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