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International Women's Day 2021 - #ChooseToChallenge

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Lizzie Tasker International Women's Day, Work Life, Work...

The 8th March is now synonymous with International Women’s Day; a global, annual celebration of women and their social, economic, cultural and political achievements. It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of the gender pay gap that currently exists and to lobby for accelerated parity.

One of the key themes for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge, which encourages us all as individuals to call out any gender bias and inequality that we come across so that collectively, we make a difference.

As a company with two female directors at the helm, we are passionate advocates for women in the workplace and want to play our part in ensuring women are empowered to reach their full potential, whether that’s by more women reaching board level, by encouraging more women to set up in business on their own or by better representation in male-dominated sectors such as Construction and STEM industries.

Ambitions’ Director, Mandy Watson, reflects on her experience as a woman in business “Times have changed notably since I first set up Ambitions in 1990. I remember attending a meeting in the early days where a male businessman told me that as a Southerner and a female, I wouldn’t survive in Lincolnshire. It’s quite incredible to imagine anyone making those comments by today’s standards”

Quite clearly, 31 successful years’ later, Mandy, along with her sister and co-Director, Claire, have most definitely proved him wrong!

Since the inception of a day to celebrate women over a century ago, times have changed for the better. However, there’s still plenty of work to do before equality is truly achieved and it’s a responsibility that falls on all of us to do our bit so that this momentum continues and opportunities open up for more and more women in the UK and around the world.

THE IMPORTANCE OF IWD IN NUMBERS

  • In 2020, the gender pay gap in the UK stood at 15.5%, which means that, on average, women earnt around 84p for every £1 earnt by a man.  

  • Globally, the gender pay gap stands at 16%.

  • It predicted that global pay parity will be achieved in 99.5 years. Although if we continue at the current pace, it will take 257 years!

  • According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, only 14% of firms have majority female ownership and only 18% of firms have a female top manager.

  • One of the greatest challenges is seen in the tech sector, particularly in emerging roles such as cloud computing - where only 12% of employees are female.

  • Here in the UK, according to the Female FTSE Board Report released in 2020, there are just 5 women CEOs and 8 women chairs in the FTSE 100

  • In the UK, women undertake 1.8 times more unpaid care work in the home than men

  • £150 billion could be added to the UK’s GDP by 2025 if every region matched the progress toward parity of the best-performing region

  • In addition, not all women are benefitting equally from the progress, with just 11% of female directors in the FTSE 100 being from BAME backgrounds. 

  • Outside of the workplace, aside from major sporting festivals, statistics claim that 40% of all sports participants are women, yet women’s sports receive only around 4% of all sports media coverage.

AND THE GOOD NEWS!

  • Equality in education is at 96.1% globally with only 12 years until it is fully reached.

  • Also globally, health is at 95.7% parity with 48 countries reaching equality and a further 71 countries reaching at least 97%

  • Mindsets are changing, in a UK survey conducted by NatCen, in 2017 72% disagree with the view that a man’s job is to earn money; a woman’s job is to look after the home and family, up from 58% in 2008.

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women” - Maya Angelou