Today is about championing the cause.
International Women’s Day 2017 is about taking action for the fundamental rights and progression of women everywhere. This year’s theme, #BeBoldForChange, encourages people across the globe to join forces and peacefully, purposefully campaign for gender parity.
We spoke to some of the women, and men, we know to ask them exactly what they want to see happen in order to accelerate these advancements, and find out what being bold means to them.
“Equal pay, clearly, but also the mechanisms to be in place for equal pay to become a reality, such as affordable childcare, flexible working hours and equality at home. Working becomes easier if the man does his fair share of household chores.
“Being bold is saying the things that are tough to say, even if they make you unpopular.”
Laura Craik, Freelance Writer
“I would like to see men accepting that we still do have gender inequality in the western world, and free child care. We must change accepting less pay which often women do being, arguably, less confrontational in the work place.
“Being bold means saying what you mean to say clearly, taking calculated risks, not accepting second best, braving inevitable storms with dignity and a firm hand shake.”
Dinny Hall, Creative Director
“Top-class, subsidised childcare is a key factor in stabilising the gulf between genders. So many women hit a brick wall when they have kids because the childcare options are unaffordable or just plain depressing. Being bold to me means having the courage to say no – always hold out for what you really want. Never settle!”
Esther Coren, Writer & Author
“I’d like to see change in the workplace. Why is is that direct women come across as bossy and direct men affirmative? Being completely honest means being bold.”
Victoria Willis, Head of Branded Entertainment INTL at Maker Studios
“I want my children (3 boys) to grow up in a world where women are able to have absolute autonomy over their sexual reproductive health, and for them to make healthy choices about their own lives and that of their children. By that, I don’t mean whether their children should eat five-a-day, I mean women being able to choose when they access care, treatment, and have autonomy over their reproductive health. In simple terms that means being able to choose how long to stay in school for and how many babies to have and when. In my view, you can’t begin to think about gender parity without women actually having autonomy over their bodies. Parity comes after autonomy. Our context at mothers2mothers (m2m) is one in which women don’t always even have autonomy let alone parity, and what mothers2mothers’s Mentor Mothers, or Wonder Women as like to call them, is doing is empowering women one mother at a time, supporting them to make their own lifesaving choices about their lives and those of their children.
“To me, being bold means insisting that women are paid and valued in their efforts to create a generation free from HIV, even when 15 years ago people felt that should be voluntary. Being bold is Mentor Mothers standing shoulder to shoulder with their clients while picking up their HIV medication at the local clinic, it means leading by example and having dreams for yourself, your sons and daughters.”
Emma France, European Director of mothers2mothers
“Changes in workplace flexibility would be great for women AND men to manage the hectic pace of work and family life today. I’m not a mum but I don’t understand why businesses can’t utilise the many developments in technology to modernise the working day. This, along with better childcare subsidies would benefit women who have had children and had to delay returning to work simply because of the costs involved in childcare. In most cases it’s the mother rather than the father who delays returning to work, often because the father earns more (which is a whole other discussion!).
“Being bold for me is about knowing my own mind and following my heart without fear of being judged or bowing to peer pressure. It’s about being a goat not a sheep!”
Navaz Batliwalla, Founder of DisneyRollerGirl
“I want to see less talk, more do. We need to put our thoughts into action, and for me this means knuckling down, constantly challenging and not giving up. Knowing what I want in life and a career and making conscious decisions to get exactly that.
“I often hear successful business women say ‘If you want something enough, you have to go out there and get it’. Advice like this is for us to put into action, not in a f*cking frame!”
Charlotte Robson, Co Owner & Director at Yawn Creative
“To accelerate gender parity, I would like to see transparency in pay scales so I know that I am being paid the same as my male counterpart. Being bold means being free to be who you are and having the confidence to say what you really think.”
Tamsin Blanchard, Fashion Features Director at Tank, Freelance writer
“To bring about greater gender equality I’d love to see a society that favours aggressive, overconfident risk taking much less, because it’s allowing a breed of testosterone fuelled masculinity to run the whole bloody planet into the ground!
“I think being bold is about quieting the annoying little insecure negative voice in your head that tells you not to stick out, and just allowing yourself to express whatever it is that maybe makes you feel a bit nervous, because that’s always a sign that it might be interesting.”
Archie Proudfoot, Sign Painter and Gold Leaf Artist
“The main change I’d like to see is for men to be less defensive when women address gender inequalities.”
Harriet Killen, Account Manager Nomadic Films
“I want to see people challenge the everyday sexism in society. The little instances of ‘laddiness’ and The ‘locker room’ talk that Trump shrugged off is the where the problem lies. If we normalise demeaning chat it becomes acceptable when it’s anything but. I think we need to call people out on those kind of comments and that will evoke a bottom up change of perception. We can talk about board rooms and powerful women figures as beacons all day long but successful women shouldn’t be put on a pedestal for being anomalies. It should be the norm.
“Being bold means standing up for something in the face of adversity. Women in the public eye gain so much more derision for simply being a woman. Diane Abbott receives daily rape threats for attempting to do a job that benefits society as a whole – there’s an irony there that is bittersweet. To me she epitomises boldness. She’s fighting for everyone, including the people who pour scorn on her. Turning a tide is hard but it becomes less daunting with women like her standing up for herself and women around her. Politics aside, the woman is a hero.”
Steve Garland, Talent Agent
“I would love to see change in the the workplace – namely the earnings gap between men and women lessen so that both sexes have equal opportunity and respect within their field. Being bold is about having self confidence in your own skin so that you can follow your heart.”
Jessica de Lotz, Jewellery Designer
For more on International Women’s Day and how you can support (and affect!) the achievement of all women head across to the website and follow #BeBoldForChange across social media.