International Women’s Day 2023
Don’t let your cynicism cloud the cause. “Embracing equity” is important.
It’s that time of year again. International Women’s Day (IWD), the globally recognised celebration of women and their achievements, has arrived.
March 8th has been earmarked for International Women’s Day (IWD) since the early 1900s and was established as an official observance day by the United Nations more than four decades ago. But there was little mainstream observation until President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be Women’s History Month and celebrity activist Annie Lennox led an iconic London march to raise awareness for global charity Women for Women International.
Fast forward to 2023 and IWD is now an important day on every (marketing) calendar, with each year marked by much corporate fanfare and a clear theme. This year, there are two. The UN has announced the IWD2023 theme to be “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. But many companies have begun promoting events for this Wednesday with the theme “embrace equity”, taking a cue from the website internationalwomensday.com – which is run by an advertising company. The theme #EmbraceEquity has the aim to ‘get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough’.
It’s very likely that many brands and organisations will indeed get talking. Dutifully using the designated hashtag and showcasing cut-and-paste ‘commitments’ to the cause through talks, workshops and discount codes. We may even see photographs of employees in the assigned pose of solidarity for #IWD2023.
But before our eyes roll permanently into the back of our heads. We’re choosing to remember that both the UN-issued theme: “Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender-equal future” AND the alternate IWD’s theme of ‘embracing equity’, are both solid statements that we shouldn’t allow our cynicism to silence. A push to address the gender bias in the technology industry is much-needed as is equity; which is far from just a women’s issue.
“Equity acknowledges that people don’t begin life in the same place, and that circumstances can make it more difficult for people to achieve the same goals”.
Unlike previous years, IWD2023 has been met with scorn on social media that’s extreme even by its own standards. The popularity of the @paygapapp and this brilliantly sardonic LinkedIn post by Journalist and Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, Sophie Walker, speaks volumes.
After several years of extreme virtue signalling by companies, perhaps we’ve grown a bit too jaded to enjoy any IWD activity.
It’s important for organisations to use the day to celebrate their female peers and employees, whilst also being realistic about the (many) disparities that still exist – often within their own team.
The talks, debates, workshops and concepts are all much sweeter when they’re backed by measurable moves to be better.
Gabriele is celebrating IWD2023 by continuing to enact equity daily within our team and therefore becoming the exemplar for others.
Even before Gabriele dropped the Skelton, women have been well-represented in our agency at every level. We’ve long since been embracing equity at Gabriele by recognising the diverse lives of our employees and the unique set of challenges they each face. Then, providing bespoke ways to overcome them.
We’re playing it small on the activity front this IWD. Instead, Gabriele are simply continuing to herald our staff by honouring them with the equity they deserve. After all, if you care about the rights of women – and we mean really care – a big song, dance and social media post isn’t needed to prove it.
We know the power of women, because we witness it everyday
But while we’re here it would be impolite not to shout out our female employees (which incidentally happens to be all our employees): Like our Operations Manager Roxi Dodkins, who can sit with a toddler on each lap, on three hours sleep and power through a morning meeting. Or Sandy, our Creative Consultant, who’s made a career change from fashion to recruitment look effortless.
Our Creative Resourcer Lianne and Social Media Manager Kandice both possess the emotional intelligence, kindness and social awareness that are all more likely to be found in women than men; and we’re always receiving positive feedback about the grace and empathy that our Client Services Consultant Nadina brings to her role.
Then, there’s the boundless energy, positivity, and knowledge of our MD Karina, the perfect example of why women make fantastic leaders.
So to conclude, we say ignore the cynicism and celebrate your staff in whatever way you want. Get your employees to hug themselves then hashtag #embraceequity if you like.
But once midnight strikes and another (inter)national day rolls into the forefront, try to continue the momentum that IWD started. Continue to call for positive change in advancing women. Fundraise for female-focused charities, educate your team and raise awareness for women’s equality. Accelerate processes to end gender parity.
There is certainly more work to be done and celebrating the achievements of women is just the beginning.