2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of the first British women being granted the right to vote after years of struggle. And while, in the intervening ten decades, women have enjoyed some of the hard-won privileges brought about by the suffragette movement, the battle for equality continues. International Women’s Day – celebrated on 8th March – is an opportunity to remember the many fearless women who risked everything for the rights we currently enjoy (and sometimes take for granted). However, if like many others you wonder how you can help drive forward the agenda for change, then wonder no more as we’ve got you covered.
Support your fellow girl bosses: from beauty to healthy eating, from fitness to fiction, there is no shortage of females slayin’ it on the business front. So, why not put your money where your mouth is, and show your support for the sisterhood by investing in your fellow girl bosses. Need some inspiration? Some of my favourites include the Clean Beauty Company (luxury brand selling high-performance natural skincare products), Adriene Mishler (YouTube yoga sensation encouraging you to “find what feels good”), Madeleine Shaw (who’ll help you “get the glow” following her plant-based eating regime) and Naomi Alderman (author of thought-provoking book “The Power” which depicts an alternate universe where women rule the world).
Knowledge is power: unfortunately, gender inequality remains stubbornly persistent which means it is vital to stay informed about the specific issues affecting women. Power remains predominantly concentrated in the hands of men across the worlds of business and politics as females continue to be under-represented both in government (women make up approximately 51% of the UK population but are only represented by 208 MPs out of 650) and top executive positions (in 2016 there were only 7 female bosses of the 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange). Despite measures aimed at levelling the playing field (including compulsory reporting of the gender pay gap for certain UK companies), there is still a gender disparity in terms of pay. And whilst the #metoo movement shows the strength of a united message, it also brings into stark focus the widespread prevalence of sexual harassment in our society – zero tolerance must become the new norm. Keen to learn more? Websites such as The Feminism Project (popular culture with a feminist twist) and the F-Word (dedicated to discussing and sharing ideas on contemporary UK feminism) and Radio 4’s Women’s Hour podcasts are all great sources of information.
Own your success: this might seem obvious but one simple way we can champion women is by encouraging the amazing women around us to see the strength in themselves and for them to pay that message forward. As females we have a habit of reflexively flagging up our own shortcomings so why not spread the female empowerment message and tell your bestie that’s she crushing it at work, give your mum props for sticking to her healthy eating plan or congratulate yourself for smashing your 10k PB time? Whatever success looks like to you, recognise it and own it.
#Deedsnotwords: there’s no doubt that “knowledge is power” but, in the spirit of the aptly named book by Helen Pankhurst (women’s activist and great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst), awareness may simply not be enough. If so, why not get involved in one of the many International Women’s Day events taking place across the globe? The International Women’s Day website has a list of worldwide events (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Events) which range from theatre, to tea parties and even knitting – simply select your location to check out the events near you. Or why not go a step further and organise your own? And, of course, it goes without saying that you should always vote!
The take-home: everyone has the power to create change and there are steps we can all take, great or small, to make our society truly gender equal and achieve complete female emancipation. Every voice matters – so make yours count this International Women’s Day.
words by Danielle Wardell
Co-Editor at Once Upon A Minimalist
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