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International Women’s Day: deeds not Words

In November 1913, Emmeline Pankhurst addressed the people of Hartford, Connecticut:

“We women, in trying to make our case clear, always have to make as part of our argument, and urge upon men in our audience the fact - a very simple fact - that women are human beings.”

More than 100 years later the powerful story of Emmeline Pankhurst and those who fought alongside her to win the vote continues to inspire both men and women around the world to challenge gender inequality. We are, after all, all humans. This week, the call to action is heard louder than ever as we celebrate International Women’s Day – a day to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world and call for action to accelerate gender parity.

This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter, recognising that a gender-balanced world is a better world, for everyone.

Balance is not a women’s or a men’s issue, but a business issue. From the boardroom to the post room, government, media and education, everyone has a role to play in creating balanced work environments that celebrate diversity and inclusion and challenge stereotypes and bias. Through balanced work environments, we can enhance both the richness and power of our teams; we can nurture future generations to be who they want to be – leaders, followers, mothers, fathers, carers, sons, daughters, grandparents, astronauts and ballerinas.

Balance is for all of us: harnessing the very best ideas and the potential of all our people.

Deeds, not Words

As we move into an exciting time in history, where reporting on gender pay gaps is mandatory and individuals of every gender can become part of our frontline, gender balance is not just a hope but an expectation backed by tangible, measurable actions.

For organisations, tackling inequality can no longer be an aspiration but must be a clear commitment, with “Deeds, not Words” as the Suffragettes pledged.  As our actions speak louder than words, supporting both women and men to thrive in the workplace, to take an active role in family life and to pursue their aspirations – whatever they may be – is just the starting point.

Together, we can make a positive and meaningful difference.

“I come to ask you to help to win this fight. If we win it, this hardest of all fights, then, to be sure, in the future it is going to be made easier for women all over the world to win their fight when their time comes.”

Emmeline Pankhurst, Freedom or Death Speech, Connecticut, 1913

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