Be Bold For Change

Thursday 8 March is International Women’s Day, a global day “celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”. It also marks a call to action to accelerate gender parity, something which is close to my heart and which I have written about in the past.

Do I think ‘international days of…’ continue to have value? Or generalised awareness weeks? Well, they certainly have their place but from a media standpoint unless you have something to say, an awareness initiative on its own is difficult to make newsworthy. For example, today (Monday 27 Feb) has been designated Strawberry Day, Polar Bear Day and Kahlua Day, and I can’t say I’ve seen any stellar coverage of any of these topics as I write.

One of the things I do think is interesting about International Women’s Day is the increasing involvement of big name businesses and organisations supporting this UN-led initiative, such as bp, Pepsico, AECOM, Metlife and Avon. The 2017 campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange and the lead sponsor is Ernst & Young.  Amongst a wide variety of events and initiatives, the HBA (Healthcare Businesswomens Association) is holding a three-hour virtual summit that can be accessed globally by its membership, and the WOW – Women of the World festival is taking place at the Southbank Centre in London from 7-10 March, sponsored by Bloomberg. You can find out more about these and other events at www.internationalwomensday.com

Here are some of the ways in which the organisers suggest that everyone can take action to support women and shorten the estimated 170 years still to go before gender parity

#BeBoldForChange and …

  • boycott all-male speaking panels
  • pull people up on exclusive language
  • challenge stereotypes
  • call it out when women are excluded
  • question all-male shortlists
  • monitor the gender pay gap
  • point out bias and highlight alternatives
  • embrace inclusive leadership
  • redefine the status quo

#BeBoldForChange and …

  • decide to buy from companies that support women
  • choose to work for a progressive employer for women
  • support or back a woman-owned business
  • take a junior female colleague to a major meeting or event
  • build conducive, flexible work environments
  • appoint a woman to the board
  • mentor a woman and sponsor her goals
  • invite women into situations where they’re not already present or contributing
  • measure and report on gender parity gaps and keep gender on the agenda
  • create new opportunities for women

#BeBoldForChange and …

  • raise women’s visibility as spokespeople in the media
  • drive fairer recognition and credit for women’s contributions
  • launch even more awards showcasing women’s success
  • hail the success of women leaders
  • applaude social, economic, cultural and polical women role models
  • celebrate women’s journeys and the barriers overcome
  • reinforce and support women’s triumphs

What will I be doing for #IWD2017? I’m looking forward to meeting up with some of the amazingly talented and inspirational female leaders in the WHAM (Women in Health Agency Management) networking group and seeing how we can collectively #BeBoldForChange. I’d love to know what you and your organisations are doing to make change happen and support women to achieve their greatest potential.