International Women’s Day (#IWD2016) is a day to celebrate the women who inspire us with their courageous and determined acts, reflect on the progress that has been made, and question the areas where it hasn’t. It’s a day to demand change where change needs to be made because, as President Obama so rightly says,

“"We must carry forward the work of the women who came before us and ensure our daughters have no limits on their dreams, no obstacles to their achievements and no remaining ceilings to shatter."”

Yes, when women are empowered & safe to contribute to society, incredible things happen. And that is why the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon is focusing our attention on gender equality this year because, "There is no greater investment in our common future."

 

There are too many women to mention who have inspired us with their courage and determination, but let’s mention Emma Watson with her HeForShe campaign, the remarkable #MalalaYousafzai who is calling for us to give girls books on #InternationalWomensDay as part of her MalalaFund – both making a huge difference.

And all the women who, on a smaller scale, stand up for less limitations and wider choice. From Trisha Lowther, founder of Let Toys Be Toys, Francesca Cambridge of Let Clothes Be Clothes, Sarah Brown who is spearheading the #RewritingTheCode campaign,  Zainab Salbi, UKfounder of WomenforwomenUK, plus WEP (Women's Equality Party) founding members Sophie Walker, (who is running for mayor) and

Because, there is still much work to do.

Today, in 2016, many women still have to work twice as hard to do half as well.

  • ONLY one in three MPs are women.
  • WOMEN are paid 10 to 30 per cent less than men. Still.
  • TWO-THIRDS of the world’s illiterate are women because of the lack of schooling for girls in various parts of the world.
  • ONE IN THREE women have experienced violence.

Thankfully, the UN's 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality with aims to ensure, by 2030 that all girls and boys are educated and that all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres come to an END! Meanwhile, the internationalwomensday.com is calling business leaders to PLEDGEFORPARITY

WHAT CAN I DO?
So what can we do about all of this? Can Mrs X as Number 2, Such-and-such Drive in Southern England really do anything to help this cause? Yes, yes you can. Here’s how:

  • Give your daughter and niece and pupils the same opportunities, choices and encouragement that boys have. People still say ‘that’s not for girls’ - don't be one of them. Let your daughter be all that she is, like whatever she likes, play with whatever she plays with and wear whatever she likes. Avoid restricting her choices based on her gender.
  • Sign petitions. They work. Here’s a few to start with:

Time to let clothes be clothes

Gender equality —let’s make women and girls #worldclass

Better gender balance in Parliament!

Stop taxing periods. Period

  • Support GENDER EQUALITY campaigns that pop up on your timeline by either donating or promoting them on your social media. We have the power to share stuff that compels us to act; to create a viral spread of causes to support.
  • Support ClimbingTreesKids.com on our own mission to empower little girls to be proud to be all that they are. Get your A3 MANIFESTO poster here.
  • Share your #InspiringWomen with #SheInspiresMe and @Elemis - they will donate £1 per post to women survivors of war http://ly/Sheinspiresme
  • Keep doing what women do so well – checking in on our female friends, creating strong support networks, listening with empathy to make sure our friends know that we are here for them if they need us if, for example, they are experiencing domestic violence and need our help to get out of a destructive relationship. Be there for each other.

And, to all my female friends on #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2016 YOU ALL INSPIRE ME - whether you are battling a disease, have overcome depression, are working hard in your job even though you don't love it, have chosen gratitude over grumpiness, have let that sh1t go, are running your own business, are helping other people, are devoting your life to being as good a mum as you possibly can be, are retraining to do something you love, are a good friend and good person, are standing up for what you believe in, making someone else feel good, are giving hugs to those who need them, listening, empathising, tackling a whole load of chores whilst holding down a full time job, juggling all manner of shiz, being there for those who love you and doing the best you can with what you have --- YOU ALL INSPIRE ME. So please be kind to yourself, because you are needed. And be nice to each other too, because you never know what's going on behind closed doors. LOVE AND RESPECT TO THE MEGA SISTERHOOD OF THE WORLD.

xxx