International Women’s Day celebrations take place on 8th March every year. The purpose of this day is to celebrate the achievements of women and raise awareness on gender bias with the aim of forging a gender-equal world. The theme for this year’s celebrations is #EachForEqual, ‘an equal world is an enabled world’.
International Women’s Day originated in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Whilst remarkable improvements have been made in terms of women’s rights, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender parity in the workplace.
Women’s events are great for empowerment, camaraderie and for providing a safe space for women to share their experiences. While it is great to host these celebrations every year to celebrate and empower women, there is often one thing missing. Men! Men need to be included in the conversation in order for changes to happen as they will be a crucial part of the solution.
Harvard define male allies as:
As stated in the Harvard Business Review, evidence shows that when men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programs, 96% of organizations see progress; compared to only 30% of organizations where men are not engaged. If you only engage half the population, you will only get half the results!
For reform to happen and to also promote change from within, support from male allies is required. Working together with the support of male allies for change will help to speed up the process in bridging the gender divide. Advancements for women and greater gender parity provides a number of benefits for men as well as women as it provides greater flexibility on items such as parental leave that is typically reserved for women.
Some momentous changes have happened in Ireland in recent times and it is estimated that the current gender pay gap in Ireland is at 14%. New legislation has been introduced in Ireland which will require employers to publish information relating to the gender pay gap among their employees and, where there is a gap, to explain the measures being taken to reduce it. According to IBEC, Ireland has the 11th lowest gap out of 28 EU countries. Ireland currently performs better than the UK (17%), the US (18%) and Canada (18%).
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we are hosting an event “Diversity & Inclusion, how does Ireland stack up against International Peers?” on Thursday 5th March. We will hear from an expert series of panelists on what their organisations are doing to tackle equality, both globally and in Ireland. To register your interest for free tickets for this event, contact us at email@example.com.