Monday 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day where we celebrate the achievements of all women, but also promote positive change by raising awareness about problems women face in their everyday lives.
This date is commemorated by many, and in some countries it is a national holiday, when women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by cultural, ethnic, linguistic, political and economic differences, come together to celebrate who they are, reflect on progress and demand gender equality.
IWD began in 1908, in New York City, where 15,000 women went on strike because of low pay and terrible conditions in the factories where they worked. They took to the streets in protest to demand the right to vote, better pay and shorter working hours.
Since this time, the fight for gender equality has taken many forms, and today it is a global event supported by many organisations and individuals.
The importance of IWD
Whilst in today’s world it may appear that women have all the same rights and opportunities as men, statistics show there is actually still a long way to go before we achieve equity.
A recent BBC report showed that in the UK women occupied only 30.9% of the most senior positions across a range of jobs in areas like politics, business and policing.
Less than 15% of the world's countries have a female leader. Only 24% of senior managers are women and 25% of companies have no female senior managers at all.
Women still earn less money than men do for the same work, and in some places, the gender pay gap is actually getting worse.
Whist there has been progress, there is still a lot to do before we see an equal number of men and women in senior jobs and receiving equal pay.
Celebrating IWD at the council
To celebrate IWD and join the global movement for equality and women’s rights, we have spoken with several women across the council to get their thoughts on the importance of IWD.
At the top of this page is a video from Yasmin Bhandal, National Management Trainee.
Both videos discuss why it's important to recognise IWD.
We've also spoken to a range of other women at the council, and you can see their influential quotes below.
Abby Thomas, Assistant Director – Chief Executive’s Office said:
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements around the world. Marking it is important to me because there is still much more to do to empower and achieve equity for women.
"The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 evidences that gender parity will not likely be attained for 99.5 years.”
Antoinette Ackuaku, Organisation Development Officer said:
“I am proud to join the International Women’s Day 2021 campaign by celebrating women in Bracknell Forest and across the world who are choosing to challenge the status-quo, make a difference and achieve gender equality.
"We should aspire for nothing less.”
Bobby Mulheir, Assistant Director: Customer Experience, Digital and ICT said:
"For me, International Women’s Day is a chance to remember all of the women who have helped to shape me as a person and supported me throughout my life and career.
"Promoting the rights of women is not denying rights to men, it’s about levelling the playing field."
Emma Young, Governance and Scrutiny Officer said:
“International Women’s Day for me is a reminder to stand up for the right thing and use my voice. Women had to fight for equal voting rights and many people at the time disagreed with it, but it is a privilege many take for granted now.
"Make sure your voice is heard by voting on 6 May.”
It’s important to remember that International Women's Day belongs to everyone who believes that women's rights are human rights. Our voice is strong, but together we sound stronger.