BusinessPeople In BusinessEvery day must be International Women’s Day

Every day must be International Women’s Day

So what are we supposed to do on Saturday, and how will this help gender equality in the workplace? asks Rachael Singh

SATURDAY IS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, it sounds great, but really what’s it about? On Mother’s Day, in a couple of weeks, you buy a card, flowers and you you know who to aim your attention at. But what happens this Saturday? Are we supposed to recognise all women everywhere? Are men just expected to fall at our feet?

If that’s the case, should there be an international men’s day where we return the favour? 

I’m all for promoting the awesomeness of my gender, but International Women’s Day? Really, just one day? Everyday is, or at least should be, International Women’s day. The fight for equality is arduous and relentless. The achievements must take place every day in every industry, country and level to even make a dent in gaining equality.

More than half of a 40,000-strong international group of 20- and 30-year-olds felt there was a bias towards men in the workplace, according to a PwC report. And apparently, just 25% of the global workforce in the five years to 2020 will be women. Just a quarter!

Back in time

Since I joined Accountancy Age (nearly ten years ago) I’ve heard about the glass ceiling in accountancy, boards and general senior management every single year, in fact probably on a weekly basis.

I’m frustrated that the development of my gender is taking so long to achieve. The number of female managing partners in the Top 50 for 2013 was two. Guess how many the year before? Yep two, the year before that? One.

In 2012 there were just nine women FDs in the FTSE 100 compared to one in 2009.

But, I can’t just blame men and company policy. Wait, before lynching me. How many women actively pursue a promotion? When I say actively I don’t mean, doing the job for a while, being good at it and expecting the boss to notice. I mean walking up to the boss and saying ‘I’m good give that job to me’?

And how many women end up ensuring they leave it too late -being over-qualified or overly-experienced, or can do the job with their hands tied behind their back, before putting themselves up for a better job? I know I’ve done this.

I admit to generalising, but I feel men tend not to act the same way. They tend to push their boss for a promotion, obtain about half the skills before they take a job and learn the rest in the role, and are not afraid to leave if they don’t get what they want.

Thank the stars there are lots of women who are exceptions. And I hope that with each generation those exceptions become ‘less’ exceptional. Until that day, every day is International Women’s Day to me.

Now, I’m off to speak to the boss…

International Women’s Day is on 8 March – #IWD2014

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