I have seen and heard so much good content about #IWD2021 that I contemplated not adding to the noise. I then decided it is about celebrating strong and inspiring women, and I want to do that.
The last year (more than any) has reminded me we have a long way to go until we can truly celebrate equal status for women and no longer need #IWD. A perfect illustration is when the public expressed anger at the Government’s Stay at Home campaign. The ad pictured women home schooling their children and doing household chores, while the man sat on the sofa watching TV.
I wonder, were people cross that it looked like an ad from the 50s, or actually that it was a fair representation of what was happening in the majority of homes? A reminder of how far equality had been set back by the pandemic? Of how working women I know and follow, have been juggling chef, hotel manager, teacher and full-time entertainer, along with their own career?
But #IWD for me is not about looking back. It’s not about the times I’ve been told I am emotionally fragile, the occasions I was written off when I walked in a room, or the experience of losing out on a role that was given to a man less qualified than me. It’s about changing the present and challenging the future.
What I will do today (and every day), is support and champion the women that work for me, or that we work for, give female competitors a step up, not a shove down, and working mothers the flexibility and support they need to be their very best at work.
I love the fact that leading an agency means I can encourage more women into the industry and do my best to support all the amazing young women who work at Stand – sometimes believing in them more than they believe in themselves. I want them to feel empowered, not apologetic, about the fact that we are built and run by strong women.
But the most effective way I can challenge the future is to encourage my 17 year old daughter to think big and fight for what she believes in. I have tried to teach her the essential skills of confidence, resilience and self-belief that she will need when others try to put her down, and every day I try to show her that being a woman is an advantage, not a disadvantage.
So, as you celebrate #IWD2021, make sure you do so with actions and not just words of support. That’s what’s going to change the future, and it will mean we celebrate women’s achievements every day not just on the 8th of March.