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A question of equality - the case for International Women's Day

8march rosesI've been intrigued by female colleagues grumbling about International Women's Day. One said she was always taught that if you put your mind to it, you could do anything you wanted to and that having a 'women's day' actually marginalised women. I'm sure that if you are fortunate enough to be in an environment where the hardest part of progress is making your mind up to do something, then yes, it is possible to succeed and make it happen. But if you are oppressed, marginalised, subjected to violence and control - well then the strongest mind is going to have difficulty 'getting on and succeeding'. It is certainly going to be tricky if you are one of the 62 million girls worldwide denied any form of education.

International Women's Day does more than celebrate a gender. Inequality remains rife even if the advantaged fail to recognise its existence.  Statistics from the UK's Independent newspaper and elsewhere paint a grim picture that all people (not just men or women) should read, understand and take action to change.

Every job, profession or paid pursuit seems to include an automatic wage gap between men and women - with women always the lower paid. Our own profession of public relations and communication management is no exception.  The CIPR is trying to address wage equality although the UK is not alone in this - it is a global problem that must be addressed across the world and across all types of work. 

Here, the Executive Director of the UN Women's explains it well:

 

We still have much to do - gender equality is a required condition for the success of any global agenda but it won't happen without a shift in the power relations between men and women. 

So celebrate International Women's Day - shout and make a noise. Don't belittle it - instead, draw attention not just to the inequalities that exist but the solutions that would see such inequalities resolved. When the clock rolls over at day's end, take what we've learnt from others and start making some changes. Then, we might just start to achieve an equal world for all.

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