2018 marks 100 years of the women’s right to vote. 2018 is the year of the Time’s Up Movement. 2018 is the year that employers with more than 250 staff are required to report salary figures for men and women.
2018 is the year that women are speaking up more than ever, but is everyone listening?
Today in 2018, International Women’s Day still has fundamentally the same aim as it did when it began back in 1908 – to achieve full gender equality for the women of the world. Looking back at even just the past 100 years of the women’s right to vote tells a huge story. In the past 100 years, contraception has become readily available for women, abortion has been decriminalised, the first female prime minister took office, the equal pay act was introduced and many more incredible advances in equality.
More recently, women’s rights have been at the forefront of people’s minds once again, as the Me Too and Time’s Up Movements have shaken up Hollywood and worldwide media as a whole, revealing years of sexual misconduct by powerful men in the film industry. The movements are a modern day reminder of the steps that we are yet to take to fully achieve gender equality. Recently, Meghan Markle was quoted saying:
“You’ll often hear people say, ‘you’re helping women find their voices’. I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find a voice: they have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
It’s hard to find a quote that sums up today’s attitudes towards gender equality more than that. Yes we are making huge advancements in closing the gender gap between men and women, and yes we are more equal than we were in 1918, yet there’s still a significant way to go. Female celebrities are wearing white roses to the BRIT Awards and dressing in black for the Golden Globes because it is no longer about women simply speaking up, it’s about them being heard.
As a Manchester based business, we are proud and privileged to have such a great, supportive network of inspirational women in business around us. We are looking to other businesses not only to celebrate their female employees but listen to them too.
This year for International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the achievements of each and every woman, every single step towards gender equality, every movement that allows women to speak up. We want to thank all the women in history who have allowed us to achieve what we have to date, and we want to inspire people to keep going, keep changing opinions, and more importantly, keep listening.