5 key takeaways to champion and support women beyond IWD

So, International Women’s Day has come and gone, but women will continue to make up 51% of the UK’s population. It’s essential that we don’t just celebrate women and make pledges to support them on the 8th March, but also that we have tangible actions to take through the year so that International Women’s Day 2025 isn’t the next time we celebrate women.

Health is Wealth

Often when people think of women’s health, it’s linked to menstrual health, menopause, reproductive health etc, and while that’s important for cis women, what about general health and wellbeing? Research from This Girl Can shows that 60% worry about the risk of sexual harassment or intimidation when exercising in the dark. In the winter months the sunrises after 8am and sets before 4pm…so when are women meant to get outside and exercise? We need to look at creating flexible workdays that allow women to get outside and exercise in daylight, even in the winter months.

Don’t just believe in women, believe women

At an International Women’s Day event, hosted by Pro Manchester, Jane Kenyon, Founder and CEO of social enterprise Girls Out Loud, which is committed to raising the aspirations of teenage girls, said one of the most important things we can do for women and girls, is not just believe in them, but also believe them.

Listen when women are speaking, and really hear them. Whether that’s in the workplace, at home or between friends, without women’s insight and taking the time to understand their lived experience, especially across different intersections, we’re not going to create a gender equal world.

Help women live aspirational lives

Another thing Jane touched on at the event was whether high-achieving women are inspiring the next generation, or whether girls look up and see their role models having to spin too many plates and fight for their voice to be heard and think it’s a road not worth taking.

If we’re to inspire the next generation, we need to make successful women aspirational, not burnt out.

Ask her to stand

Another key takeaway came from Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Kate Green. She was discussing the Ask Her to Stand initiative. Born from the recognition that while they may be passionate about politics many women don’t naturally put themselves forward for political office, the initiative encourages everyone to ask women to stand for roles they would be great for. To my mind this shouldn’t be exclusive to the political sphere but everywhere – if you know a woman who would be great for a role encourage her to go for it. But in the spirt of helping women lead aspirational lives, makes sure it’s something she has the capacity both in terms of time and brain space to take on.

Men must help make changes

Across the UK nearly 75% of CEOs are men, but only 10% of attendees were men at the Pro Manchester event I attended. That’s not good enough. Women are asked on a daily basis to enter spaces that are predominantly made up of men – corporate finance networking events, the weights section at the gym, the list could go on – so we should also ask men to do the same so they can understand how that experience feels.

Spaces need to be created where women’s issued can be discussed, and men can be part of the conversation to listen, learn and ultimately believe women. Without this we won’t reach gender equality – if women alone could make this happen you can bet it would already be done by now.

To read what #inspireInclusion means to some of our employees who identify as female click here.

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