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Jo Geraghty

Director

International women’s day

Date added: 08th Mar 2017
Category: Culture of Diversity

On International women’s Day let’s be bold for change; let’s stand up and celebrate the unique talents which every one of us has, and let’s look towards diversity and inclusion as positive contributors not just to one particular field of business or leisure but to society as a whole.

The Google doodle in celebration of International women’s Day highlights the achievements of a number of pioneering women across a range of disciplines. Looking at the images chosen the instinctive response is to say yes of course women can be sportspeople or doctors, artists or scientists. But that instinctive response is tempered by the further thought that without these pioneers, without women standing up and taking their belief in their own abilities into their chosen arena, would women today have the freedom which so many now take for granted.

And yet, despite all of the pioneering work, despite all the rhetoric about diversity and equality, the fact that international women’s day still needs to exist shows that there is still some way to go before we see true equality of opportunity across every arena. For example, a study by the organisation Women in Sport [1] revealed that the number of women appointed to top jobs within sporting bodies has fallen by 6% since 2014.

The study also revealed that 9 of the 68 sporting bodies have no women within leadership roles whilst 33 have less than 30% female representation. This despite the fact that sports organisations risk losing funding if they don’t meet the 30% female representation target by 1st April this year. Of course in the interests of balance we also have to ask if the 30% representation target should go both ways; in which case England netball would fail with 80% of its leadership positions and 90% of its board being taken by women!

So what can people do to make their own personal contribution to the ‘be bold for change’ theme of this year’s International women’s Day? The answer is quite simple and it applies across the diversity spectrum:

  • stop seeing people in terms of gender or ethnicity or background or age or any other criteria
  • start seeing every person as a unique individual and help them to make the most of their talents

Pioneers aren’t pioneers because they conformed to some quota. They are pioneers because they weren’t afraid to stand up and make the most of their unique abilities. And equality isn’t about treating everyone identically. True equality means giving everyone an equal opportunity to learn and develop and contribute.

So on International women’s Day let’s be bold for change; let’s stand up and celebrate the unique talents which every one of us has, and let’s look towards diversity and inclusion as positive contributors not just to one particular field of business or leisure but to society as a whole.

[1] https://www.womeninsport.org/

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