Today (8th March) is International Women’s Day and so for today, and the rest of the month we’d like to discuss what this day is really about.
The hashtag for International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter because this year the focus is on creating a more gender balanced world.
The International Women’s Day website states “Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue” and they are right. International Women’s Day is about so much more than celebrating women and their achievements. It is about “making a call for action for accelerating gender balance”. Work shouldn’t be done one day of the year, it should be a continuous and collaborative effort in order to make progress every single day.
How Important is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911 and gaining momentum ever since. Whilst its main focus is to celebrate everything that has been achieved collectively, it also provides a moment to stop and acknowledge the battles that are still to be fought. It is easy to get caught up in the celebrations and forget just how much work there is still to be done.
A positive statistic shows that according to recent studies, today over 70% of women aged 16–64 are employed. This percentage has increased from slightly over half (53%) in 1971 which is fantastic progress and indicates more women are given the opportunity to work.
Although more women are in work, “fewer than one in five small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK are led by women and although women in the UK outnumber men by 1 million, there are twice as many male entrepreneurs as there are female.”
The truth in these statistics clearly demonstrates, that although fantastic progress has been made in terms of women being offered positions. But there is still a huge amount of work to be done in terms of gender equality and balance IN the workplace and in the opportunities for progression that they are being offered.
With this in mind, although work should be done all year round to tackle these divides, International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to remind ourselves of this. More work needs to be done to break down the unnecessary stereotypes that still surround women today, and that are preventing women from progressing and moving into more senior roles.
Women across the world are faced with different challenges when it comes to employment and we’ve asked two of our very own ladies here at Altum HR to give us their view on International Women’s Day and their experiences in the workplace.
Tara Phillips HR Consultant and Mental Health Champion for Altum HR said:
“As a full time working mum, I think it is really important to recognise how the changes in UK legislation such as the Equal Treatment Framework Directive (2007) has created a solid, realistic and enjoyable path for me to not only dedicate my life to my son but also build a career for myself.
I have been lucky in having support and guidance from successful women in my life, however for some, the road hasn’t been so easy. The International women’s day website highlights many challenges women have faced over the decades,
It is clear in recent media, discrimination against women is still alive and thriving. #metoo, has created a social understanding of sexual discrimination in the world of celebrity recently, with high profile cases hitting the media on an almost weekly basis. However, it is important to remember this type of discrimination can occur anywhere.
Movements such as this have now developed even further to include the discrimination of men, which demonstrates how important it is to include everyone in social change equally. It is important for all people to adopt the ethos of an equal and diverse working environment regardless of gender”.
Patricia Venables our Administrator wrote this fantastic piece highlighting the importance of women being offered opportunities in the later years of their career.
Will you still want me when I’m 59?
I got made redundant in July 2018 after 17 years in the same accounts office.
With the big 60 looming, I thought that’s it, I will never obtain new employment but wasn’t ready to resign myself to endless coffee and daytime TV.
I got my CV out there, I admit it was scary going for interviews, there’s first interviews, tests, second interviews sometimes with 3 or 4 people asking questions. Then there’s what should I wear? Should I tell them how old I am? I’ll have to buy new clothes, will they like me? Sleepless nights with all sorts going round in your head.
Anyway, after 3 months I was lucky enough to be offered a position at Altum HR. A new job that was different to what I was used to, I just told myself “ you can do this!”. Yes I had to learn new things and yes I sometimes need help, but I am loving it. Josie and the team at Altum HR are fabulous and there is always someone to help when I need it.
I love the way as a HR company that we help others that may also think there is no way forward.
My motto is, you’re never too old to learn and there’s always a way.
If you’d like to make your HR function key to supporting your business to achieve gender equality and a more balanced workforce, get in touch with us at Altum HR.