International Women’s Day takes place this year on the 8th of March and the theme is #embraceequity
Professionally it has always been a busy time and one of the first dates that books up in the event calendar every year. However this year I have been astounded at the increased number of events and heartened at the greater respect being shown for this important day.
A decade ago, I was often asked, “Why do women get a special day?” “What’s this all about?” “Why don’t men have a day too?” (and they do now – and that’s fine but this year there’s definitely been a sea change.
Challenging bias and championing diversity and inclusion agendas whilst highlighting the shocking realities around gender parity have made this year’s IWD not just a “nice to have” event but an imperative.
Covid massively stalled progress towards achieving gender parity. The World Economic Forum shockingly stated it would take 132 years to close the global gender gap – particularly when it comes to pay.
Bespoke Communications loves working with women to build self-belief and improve confidence, helping hundreds of women to find their voices professionally and speak to be heard.
Mid-March we’ll once again deliver our Reflect and Reboot workshop for Women in Business – giving women a chance to work through challenges, career burn out or rust out and to ultimately know their value. One of the most rewarding aspects of the job for both Camilla and myself is helping companies tailor bespoke courses to encourage, support and help retain their female workforce.
The #IamRemarkable movement is an initiative by Google empowering women and other under represented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond.
One of their videos asks a people to consider why they are remarkable – a question that so many women, because of our social conditioning , our modesty, our often complete lack of self- belief and even self- sabotage find it is so hard to answer – especially out loud in front of others!
Now – if we had to answer this question for our best friend or favourite female colleague – we would glow with pride and gush with praise but as women we seem to be hard wired to look for negatives. In fact, when I do this exercise, women tend to want to tell me all the reasons why they’re NOT remarkable.
During a recent workshop – one woman bravely spoke up and said – but Sarah, I’m not in any way remarkable – I just clock in clock out, I’m boring, I don’t socialise, I just keep my head down and get on with my work – but then went on to say she probably needed “a good kick” going on to say it was her own fault as she’d spent the last years caring for her mum who had dementia until her passing and as a result had become a bit of a recluse.
Everyone was listening in shock to her shaming, judging and blaming herself for this loss of mojo.
It was an online workshop and the chat went wild. You are totally remarkable – others said, much to her surprise – and she totally was – but – duty, expectations, love and selfless caring didn’t seem remarkable – especially in a professional capacity – to everyone else she was amazing.
Workplaces need to acknowledge the great pressure people find themselves in personally at times in their lives and support their staff through these times and reach out if they seem detached. Maybe you could reach out to someone today if it’s you who has lost your mojo – call an old friend, meet up make a connection. No one is an island. Give yourself hug and not a kick.
If you’d like to re-think your life and career we’d love to help you to reflect, reboot and rebuild on one of our Resilience courses or if we can work with your company on a bespoke programme to make sure your female staff know how remarkable they really are, then get in touch. If you support them – they’ll stay.
Happy International Women’s Day