Business owner's 'mixed feelings' about day to champion women
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
While International Women's Day is a time to champion women's voice, the managing director of Plain Speaking PR Agency, Pippa Lain-Smith, explains in her own words why she has concerns.
I have very mixed feelings about International Women’s Day.
As someone who has been running a small business in the UK for more than 15 years, is married to a good man, has an (almost) teenage son, and who is relatively financially secure, I’m doing okay as a woman in 2022.
But please don’t get me wrong. I know that many women are less fortunate than me and I’m angry at the way women and girls are so often treated.
From disparity in wages and the lack of female representation in boardrooms and in politics, to the fact that we still can’t walk home feeling safe or choose an outfit without first anticipating how we’ll be judged on it. Sadder still, there are women throughout the world who still have absolutely no rights: little girls who are subjected to FGM, children forced into marriage, daughters given no access to education.
And these matters - inequalities at best, horrors at worst – are simply not acceptable in 2022. We must strive for women and girls to have the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
One hundred years ago, women in the UK still couldn’t vote. But look how much the world has changed in the last century. With technology allowing us 24/7 access to information and news so there is no excuse to say, "we didn’t know".
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Whilst men are recognized and praised for strength, hard work, tenacity and forcefulness, too often women aren’t looked at in the same way. Instead of being assertive, we are seen as ‘bossy’, rather than warm and open, we are considered too emotional. Our confidence and ambition are perceived as pushiness? These stereotypes, labels and challenges are faced by women every day.
A total of 49.6pc of the world’s population is female. And every day, across the globe, women are doing phenomenal things: for our communities, our families and our economies. So, should we really need an ‘awareness day’ as a prompt to acknowledge and celebrate the everyday achievements of women and girls? Shouldn’t every day be International Women’s Day?
Achieving real progress in creating a world that is equitable, anti-sexist and where women and girls can thrive, I have no mixed feelings about that.