International Women’s Day - one of the more pointless days of the year.
Seriously, it’s up there with International Nose Picking Day (it’s a thing - 23rd April every year), as a waste of time and energy.
The concept is brilliant, and much needed. Use one day a year to educate, inform and raise women specific issues to develop and improve equality, inclusion and belonging at work and in society.
Unfortunately, it has become a farce. So many organisations all struggling to come up with a unique message, worried about how it will look if they don’t get it right. Yet, these are the same organisations that ignore the needs of women for the rest of the year.
Example A: An international sports team posting a video of the captain and vice captain saying how much they value women. Except the VC is a known womaniser, and they completely forget to mention the highly successful women’s team.
Example B: A company that a friend of mine works for has just started a month-long campaign to educate their employees on the importance of equality and inclusiveness (commendable), but refused a new Mum’s request for 4 days a week because “it sets a precedent and we can’t offer flexibility to everyone.” Possibly the worst excuse ever.
Thankfully, these kinds of organisations are starting to be called out. The Twitter account @paygapapp is brilliant at this.
Equality is not about painting a building purple for a day, or giving the women in the office a pleasant lunch, it is everything. Every day.
Equality is paying everyone the same for doing the same job.
It is embracing and encouraging shared-parental leave so Mums, if they want to, can keep their careers moving.
It’s creating an environment where men want to be the stay-at-home parent.
It’s embracing flexible work.
It’s refusing to accept harassment of any kind.
It’s being pro-active in creating a culture that everyone wants to be a part of.
It is all these things and more, and they take a lot of work and need to be looked at every single day, not once a year.
And we are all part of the solution.
If we vote with our feet and work for companies that genuinely care, then those that don’t will be forced to change.
If we drive the conversation at the companies we work at, and make those at the top aware of how critical these issues are to the success of their business, then they will be forced to change.
If we call out the baseless claims that we will inevitably see on IWM, then these organisations will be forced to make a change.
So commit to being part of the change and find the job that’s right for you at a company that you genuinely want be a part of. Don’t accept just any job, and especially not at a company that is all icing and no cake.