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Happy International Womens Day! Lets forge a #BalanceforBetter

Happy International Women's Day! Let's forge a #BalanceforBetter

 March 07, 2019

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International Women's Day celebrated on March 8 each year is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The day has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women's equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

The future is exciting. Let's build a gender-balanced world

Everyone has a part to play - all the time, everywhere. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Balance drives a better working world so let's all help create a #BalanceforBetter.

Year long activity and collaboration

The 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign runs all year long. It doesn't end on International Women's Day. The campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with #BalanceforBetter activity reinforced and amplified all year.

Let's build a gender-balanced world 

Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage ...
Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.

Motivate others

So put your hands out and STRIKE THE #BalanceforBetter POSE and make International Women's Day YOUR day - and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women everywhere. Post your #IWD2019 message on social media with your "hands out" balance pose for a strong call-to-action for others to also help forge a #BalanceforBetter.

Take action

International Women's Day provides a useful opportunity to reinforce the fact that everyone has a role to play in forging a more gender-balanced world. IWD is for celebrating the achievements of women and/or calling for gender parity.

Around the world - from small grassroots gatherings and local celebrations, through to largescale events and press conferences - people everywhere are delivering exciting and engaging speeches and presentations that reinforce a commitment to women's equality and rally action and awareness raising.

Below are some useful points to cover in IWD speeches - whether addressing young children, employees in the workforce, members of the community, public audiences or the press:

  • A balanced world is a better world
  • The rise of women is not about the fall of men
  • Everyone can play a role in forging gender parity
  • Gender balance is not a women's issue, it's an economic issue
  • Advocacy, inclusive mindsets and tangible action are needed from all
  • Some speeches and presentations cite great women and their achievements as relevant to the specific context for the speech or presentation and its audience.

Key points to convey

Some engaging angles to elaborate on include:

  • Many societies have moved on from women having to succeed in a man's world
  • Stereotypes are being challenged and more diverse representation of women is more evident
  • There is still a continuing need worldwide for more progressive mindsets and inclusive behaviours to be forged
  • Collectively everyone everywhere can strive for women's equality and continue to make positive gains

Setting some interesting historical context

The path to women's equality has been long and challenging, and here are some reasons why. Each stage provided an important focus in forging the gender agenda further along.

  • Activism: In the late 1800's and early 1900's, women activists fought hard for equality. The focus was largely on securing the right to vote and equal pay for equal work. These two issues - women's voice and participation in government; and the gender pay gap - largely remain key priorities over a century later.
  • Feminism: Fast-forward to the 1970's and widespread feminist action saw women rallying, protesting and lobbying hard for inclusion, influence and equality.
  • Fix the women: The 1980's saw an array of "Fix the Women" programs that were well-meaning in trying to help women become more confident, visible, well-networked and assertive - but many reinforced a notion that women needed to "act like men" and "fit" into existing patriarchal structures and organizations if they were to succeed (all while still being a superwoman in the home). Shoulder pads, power suits, high heels and a loud voice were in fashion.
  • Change the organization: The 1990's and noughties focused on organizational development: "Maybe if we change or fix the organizational structures, women will thrive?" So areas like the focus on women in the boardroom escalated, as did more diverse recruiting, inclusive talent pipelines, and attention to wider diversity groups beyond gender such as race, LGBT+ and so forth. The introduction of "Top Company" and "Top Women" style lists occurred and as they increased in popularity, the number of new lists launched each year increased exponentially.  The number of women's conferences and networks also increased significantly - and continue to play an important and necessary role across all countries. The volume of gender-related research also increased - new insight, new terms and understandings, new phrases, measurement of the extent of problems or success; hard facts and numbers.
  • Men as allies: In more recent years, men as advocates and champions of change have been recognized as playing a key part in accelerating women's equality. Many progressive CEOs and influential leaders have committed via formal public channels to helping build diverse and inclusive organizations that challenge stereotypes and bias.
  • The world expects balance: And so here we are - 2020 is on the near horizon. Movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and the significant global rise in International Women's Day activity in every corner of the world - along with the many female-focused days and initiatives around the world - mean gender is firmly on the agenda! 

2017 and 2018 saw International Women's Day as the most discussed topic on Facebook by millions (even more than the Super Bowl). Pantone's color of the year last year was purple (women's color). Everywhere, gender is on the mainstream radar and impacting the narrative. Stereotypes and bias are more likely to be called out. Men's role in society is more varied and gender roles are fluid.

Insightful statistics to include

Download the IWD Lean In State of Women at Work presentation to provide a sense of where women are at on the long road to equality.

Whether it's in relation to women film directors, the status of equal pay, scientific prizes awarded to women, the number of women leading in government, or women in the boardroom - these insightful statistics and associated visuals are very engaging. You'll also see a great summary of recent actions countries have taken around the world to help forge women's equality. 

Use your voice and power on International Women's Day

Influential speakers, engaged audiences - International Women's Day has a global following with a shared purpose. Let's use International Women's Day speeches and presentations to truly forge the agenda and make a difference for women of the current and girls of the future.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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