For one day a year, it’s International Women’s Day.
That day happens to be today, the 8th March. And so for days and weeks, i’ve been receiving endless emails and pitches from individuals and businesses looking for a hook to tie into this time of year.
You may have also noticed over the last few days plenty of news articles and features about ‘women’, with our half of the population finally granted some attention (beyond the usual celebrity, weight loss, and wellbeing pieces).
Such announcements and stories will dry up in the days following IWD. My inbox will become easier to manage, there will be a new angle for public relations experts to push in the media. News editors will return to their usual focus. Life will return to normal. Women and men will return to the status quo. The same status quo that has stood in the way of the change that really needs to occur before we can finally remove the need for an ‘International Woman’s Day’.
But until then, we have today. One day to acknowledge a vast range of gender inequalities that span everything from forced marriage and violence to a lack of women in key leadership roles. We have one day to discuss the issues, to have the leaders of our workplaces take notice, and to make the ‘Pledge for Parity’ that can instigate the change we need.
And it’s great that we have this time to stand up and to reflect and to incorporate the #pledgeforparity hashtag into our tweets. It’s great that even those businesses that don’t do a whole lot throughout the rest of the year, can at least make a stand right now — even if that’s as progressive as declaring, ‘look at us, we finally hired a woman!”
But one day a year for women isn’t enough.
Maybe we need 66 days, one for every extra day a woman has to work before she can equal the annual salary of an equivalent full-time working man.
Or 79 days, representing the number of women who were killed due to an act of violence in 2015.
Or 24 days, one for each of the ASX 200 companies that still do not have a single woman on their board.
Or 34 days, one for every year we’ll have to wait before reaching something that resembles workplace equality in 2050.
Or perhaps just 183 day, half of the 366 days on offer this leap year. Representing true equality between men and women.
Really, every day should be International Women’s Day.
We’re daughters and sisters and mothers and partners. We’re leaders and creators and game-changers.
We’re a central part of every day and we should expect nothing less.
Until that becomes our reality. Happy International Women’s Day.