It’s March 8– do you know what that means? It’s International Women’s Day. Last year, The Team made a video asking organisations about the commercial case for gender parity. We quizzed the leaders who are demonstrating the value of gender diversity. The result was a film presenting the case for gender parity in the workplace.
365 days later, has anything changed? Sure, we have a female Prime Minister, but is this demonstrating progress or showing that nobody else was willing to deal with the Brexit fallout? Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah announced that working parents would receive double the current amount of free childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds. The £13m investment will allow councils to offer 30 hours of free childcare for 38 weeks, but many childcare facilities say they won’t be offering it because the government’s grant doesn’t cover their costs. For those that do, it is likely to put extra pressure on childcare providers’ wages, most of whom are women.
The balance of men and women in the UK workplace has steadily improved in parity, but the gap’s not fully closed yet. Women earn 18 per cent less than men, on average, according to new research by The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). The gap grows after women have children, raising the prospect that mothers are missing out on pay rises and promotions. In a separate report, it’s suggested that male managers are 40% more likely than female managers to be promoted. In her first statement as the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May vowed to create a “Britain that works for everyone” – will this include her sisterhood too?
What we have seen in the past year is a surge in women’s rights campaigning. Just a year ago, it looked very possible that the US would see its first female President. Not to be. A male won the race. The Women’s March on Washington, which followed his inauguration, rallied against ‘politics of fear’ and quickly snowballed into a global movement. Without getting into petty crowd size comparisons, the Women’s March included 673 ‘sister marches’, with around 5 million people marching in cities across the world. It was the largest and most peaceful demonstration in US history.
Passion has been unleashed. Women are less afraid to be active; to shout to be heard. This is not only seen in the news but also in advertising, such as the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, discussed with Kate Bosomworth, Director, Sport England, in The Team’s film.
We are hearing more female voices. There is harder pushback. With this activism for change, maybe we’ll also hear more of the nicer names for strong women in the workplace. Like boss.