The #PressforProgress theme of International Women’s Day 2018 (“IWD2018”) is about encouraging, motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and communities to think about the issues that face women around the world today. Despite the loud conversations surrounding harassment, pay and inequality, it is still a scary fact that we are a long way off women being truly equal in the work place.
International Women’s Day originated in the 1900’s in the US and is now recognised globally as a day for commemorating struggles women have faced and still face today, as well as celebrating their achievements.
In order to do this, DQ held an informal brunch meeting where we were welcomed with pastries and cakes, and had some interesting discussions dealing with issues affecting all employees with regards to gender parity.
In advance of the meeting, all employees were encouraged to anonymously put forward suggested topics for debate. The main focus of the discussion was centred on celebrating women’s achievements, personal experiences of gender equality and inequality, career progression and balancing professional success with personal fulfilment.
Whilst the main topics of discussion were experiences and issues which primarily affect women, it was recognised that gender equality and women having equal rights in the workplace and beyond has a definite positive effect on the men in these women’s lives. One of the many positives to come out of the discussions was that we should celebrate parity for all and treat each other no matter what sex, race, religion with equal respect and consideration.
DQ recognised that, although important to discuss topics that affect women in business on International Women’s Day, it is also pivotal to have a think about the women and girls around the world who are not as fortunate as us here on the Island. It was therefore decided that DQ should donate to an international women’s charity, and the one which stood out was Binti.
Binti’s aim is to “provide menstrual dignity to all girls, all over the world. This means facilitating access to pads to ensure menstrual hygiene, educating girls about what menstruation is and what they can expect from it, and dispelling stigma, taboos, myths and negative perceptions around menstruation. Binti currently runs projects in India, Kenya, Swaziland, as well as in less fortunate areas in the US and the UK.
DQ director Leanne McKeown commented:
“Gender equality is about men and women. Real equality is not valuing women on male terms, but creating a much wider range of choices for women and men. International Woman’s Day puts a spotlight on the issues, save that it must be remembered that tackling matters of diversity in the corporate environment requires continued conversation and action, and the appreciation of the impact of unconscious bias. I recently took part in a roundtable discussion on #PressForProgress and the key aims I took away revolved around the need for (1) employers to demonstrate that a value to family is held in as high an esteem as a value to work; (2) businesses to focus on transparency, advocacy and mentoring on diversity and equal treatment; and (3) the need to identify talent ahead of time so that it can be nurtured in advance of promotions. DQ’s internal event for IWD2018 (charity intentions aside) allowed for discussion that will lead to improvements within our own business and that can only ever be a good thing.”