Celebrating the Silent Strength: Women and Their Undeniable Impact on Society

Women are up to three times more likely than men to die from a heart attack because first symptoms are brushed off as benign.

Celebrating the Silent Strength: Women and Their Undeniable Impact on Society
Photo by That's Her Business / Unsplash

Inspiring Inclusion: Celebrating Women's Contributions to Society

As we celebrate  International Women's Day this year on 8th March, the theme of inspiring inclusion resonates more profoundly than ever. It's a time to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of women throughout history and to ensure that their voices are heard and respected in every part of society. From the office to the home, women have played an integral role in shaping our world, and it's time to celebrate their achievements while also striving for greater inclusivity.

As 50% of the world's population, women have played an indispensable role in shaping the world we live in today. Yet, the gratitude and recognition for their relentless dedication often goes unnoticed. Even when they have been acknowledged, their achievements tend to get played down.

Statistics reveal an ongoing reality - women continue to face disparities in various spheres, including education, healthcare, and employment. Globally, around 129 million girls are out of school ( Source: Unicef), denying them the opportunity to unlock their full potential. Furthermore, it is estimated that 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls. (Source: WFP Gender Policy and Strategy.) Women are up to three times more likely than men to die from a heart attack because first symptoms are brushed off as benign.

Despite these challenges, women persevere, driving progress and innovation across all sectors. In fields traditionally dominated by men, women are breaking barriers and reshaping narratives. There are now 10 female CEO's in the FTSE 100 and 42% of boards are made up of females in the FTSE350. (FTSE Women Leaders). Their voices are instrumental in advocating for change, championing gender equality, and challenging systemic injustices. But it needs more than their voices to raise the bar on equality. It needs all our voices.

The journey towards gender equality remains fraught with obstacles. Lack of access to resources, education, and economic opportunities impedes the advancement of women worldwide. Moreover, the significant lack of comprehensive data hampers efforts to address gender-based disparities effectively. (Read 'Invisible Women' by Carolina Criado Perez').

To create a more equitable world, it's imperative to mobilise efforts at both individual and collective levels. Empowering women starts with providing equal access to education and healthcare, ensuring their voices are heard and valued in decision-making processes, and dismantling systemic barriers that perpetuate gender inequality.

Our communities can support women by advocating for policies that promote gender equality, investing in women-led initiatives and businesses, and fostering inclusive environments that celebrate diversity. Moreover, individuals can actively challenge gender stereotypes, promote women's rights, and amplify the voices of marginalised women.

Additionally, governments and organisations must prioritise the collection of gender-disaggregated data to identify gaps and implement targeted interventions. By allocating resources towards women's research as well as developing targeted strategies, products and services, we can foster a more inclusive society where every woman has the opportunity to thrive.

Here are five top tips on how we can promote inclusion at work:

  1. Promote Gender Diversity: Encourage the recruitment and retention of women in leadership positions. Implement policies that support work-life balance, such as flexible working hours/ patterns and parental leave, to empower women to excel in their careers.
  2. Foster a Culture of Respect: Create a safe and supportive work environment where all employees feel valued and respected. Zero-tolerance policies for harassment and discrimination should be enforced rigorously, with mechanisms in place for reporting and addressing any grievances promptly.
  3. Provide Equal Opportunities: Ensure that women have equal access to training, development programs, and career advancement opportunities. Mentorship and sponsorship initiatives can help bridge the gender gap by providing guidance and support to aspiring female leaders.
  4. Amplify Women's Voices: Actively seek out and amplify the voices of women in meetings, discussions, and decision-making processes. Create platforms for women to share their experiences, ideas, and perspectives, and ensure that their contributions are acknowledged and valued.
  5. Celebrate Achievements: Recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in the workplace through awards, events, and public acknowledgments. By highlighting their accomplishments, you can inspire others and reinforce the importance of gender diversity and inclusion.

And here are five top tips on how we can promote inclusion at home:

  1. Share Responsibilities Equally: Foster a culture of equality within the household by sharing domestic duties, caregiving responsibilities, and financial decision-making. Encourage open communication and mutual respect between partners to create a supportive environment.
  2. Challenge Gender Stereotypes: Be mindful of the messages we convey to children about gender roles and expectations. Encourage them to pursue their interests and passions regardless of gender, and expose them to diverse role models who defy traditional stereotypes.
  3. Create Inclusive Spaces: Cultivate a home environment where everyone feels welcome and accepted, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or background. Respect each other's differences and celebrate diversity as a strength that enriches our lives.
  4. Educate and Empower: Equip family members with the knowledge and tools to advocate for gender equality and social justice. Engage in conversations about gender issues, human rights, and the importance of respecting everyone's rights and dignity.
  5. Lead by Example: Be a role model for inclusivity by demonstrating empathy, compassion, and fairness in all your interactions. Show your children and loved ones that inclusivity is not just a value to uphold but a way of life that benefits everyone.

By implementing these tips, both at work and at home, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their gender. Let us use this International Women's Day as a catalyst for positive change and a reminder of the power of inclusion to transform lives and communities.

Happy International Women's Day