Every year on March 8th, the world observes International Women's Day (IWD) to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women in different fields, including politics, science, arts, and social activism. The day also serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight for gender equality and the challenges women still face worldwide. IWD is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of empowering women, promoting gender parity, and recognising the significant contributions of women to society.
As we mark this year's International Women's Day, it is crucial to reflect on the history of the movement, its significance, and the ongoing global challenges women face. From gender inequality to violence against women and lack of access to education and healthcare, women's rights are still being violated in different parts of the world.
At Templeton, we recognise the importance of International Women's Day and celebrate this day by sharing our thoughts and opinions on achieving gender equality. We believe that by acknowledging the progress that has been made, recognising the work that still needs to be done, and committing ourselves to support women's rights and gender equality, we help to create a brighter and more equitable future for women and girls everywhere.
The History of International Women’s Day
International Women's Day has its roots in the labour movement in the early 20th century, when women in Europe and the United States began to organise and protest for better working conditions, the right to vote, and other women's rights issues.
In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding better working conditions, shorter hours, better pay, and the right to vote. The following year, the first International Women's Day was observed in the United States on February 28th. In 1910, at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of an annual International Women's Day, which was agreed to be celebrated every year on March 8th.
The first "official!" International Women's Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on March 19th, 1911, with rallies and demonstrations that drew attention to women's rights, including the right to vote, hold public office, and work in professions traditionally reserved for men.
Since then, International Women's Day has grown into a global movement, with events and celebrations taking place worldwide to recognise women's achievements and to call for greater gender equality, justice, and peace.
The Significance of International Women’s Day
Women have played a pivotal role in shaping history, and their contributions to society have been significant. International Women's Day provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and recognise the achievements of women around the world.
However, the 8th of March is about more than just celebrating women's successes. This day also serves as a reminder of the challenges that women face today and an opportunity to take action, support women's rights, and advocate for greater gender equality in all areas of life.
Templeton spoke to our team across genders, nationalities and backgrounds on IWD and the importance of gender equality.
Why is IWD important?
💬 This day emphasises the importance of empowering women, promoting gender equality, and recognising the significant contributions of women to society. In addition, it provides an excellent opportunity to recognise the intersectionality of gender with other aspects of identity, such as race, class, and sexuality, and acknowledge that all women face distinct challenges and barriers. In this sense, International Women's Day reminds everyone to continue advocating for gender equality and strive towards creating a more inclusive world. Anna S.
💬International Women's Day is important because of its opportunity to celebrate women's accomplishments and also an opportunity to highlight the work that remains to be done. In many countries, women are still much less paid than men, which should not be normal since women can do as well or even better than men. Richard F.
💬 International Women's Day reminds us of the significant contributions of women throughout history, including our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Women have played a crucial role in shaping society and fighting for their rights in the workplace and at home. This day is not just a celebration of the women of today but also a recognition of the legacy left by the women who came before us. Jennifer M.
💬 International Women's Day gives us the opportunity to focus on women's rights and gender equality. Along with celebrating women's accomplishments, we also need to highlight the work that remains to be done. Caroline R.
💬 IWD is an important reminder that women are powerful and capable of achieving great things worldwide through social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. The very nature that all men came from a woman demonstrates the interconnectedness and interdependence of all human beings and that the struggle for gender equality is not just a women’s issue but a human rights issue. Women have the ability to change the world, and we should all strive to enable them to do so. As quoted by Margaret Thatcher, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” A woman’s mindset is self-determined, self-reliant, and self-driven.
Women have proven time and again to be capable leaders and innovators. Women are the backbone of families and communities. Women have been at the forefront of movements for justice, equality, and peace – we should honour the sacrifices and struggles of all those who have come before us. It is in our hands to make a difference. Let us empower women to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create a society where every woman can live up to their full potential. As quoted by Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it is done, so let us do the impossible and work towards a better future for humanity. Jay J.
💬 International Women's Day is an opportunity to celebrate women and their contributions. During my childhood, I cherished receiving flowers and chocolates on this day. However, as I have grown older, I have come to view this day from a different perspective. I recognise the tremendous efforts that women make in their professional and personal lives, as well as the discrimination that we continue to face.
As a woman, I am grateful for the rights that I now have, and International Women's Day is a perfect day to appreciate them. Violence and abuse against anyone, whether it be a woman or a man, is intolerable. This day draws attention to this issue, and it is crucial for women to be knowledgeable about the resources available to them if they find themselves in a violent situation. Dora M.
Inspiring Women from History and Everyday Heroes
Women have been making significant contributions to society since the beginning of time, and there are countless examples of inspiring women throughout history. From Ada Lovelace, the world's first computer programmer, to Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, these women have paved the way for future generations.
However, it's not just famous women who are making a difference. Every day women are also doing incredible things in their communities, workplaces, and homes. From mothers who juggle multiple responsibilities to female entrepreneurs who start successful businesses, women are constantly breaking barriers and achieving their goals.
Together, the stories of inspiring women throughout history and everyday women serve as a reminder of the endless potential and strength of women everywhere.
Women who inspire us...
💬 Several women have been a source of inspiration for me. My mum and grandmother were the first to instil in me the values of perseverance and self-confidence. Margaret Thatcher's economic policies opened up opportunities for people to take control of their lives and aspire for the better. An Iberia flight attendant inspired me to start learning Spanish at 14. Melina Merkouri, a famous actor, used her charm to advocate for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece, a cause that I strongly support. And last but not least, Maria Callas kindled my interest in classical opera, which has enriched my life in countless ways. Anthony R.
💬 Lady Thatcher is my role model. Strong, decisive, and fearless, she operated in a man's world without trying to be one. She looked after her appearance as a woman, wasn't ashamed to show emotion when she felt it and won three general elections. Today, we still benefit from her example. Though she is a product of her time and feminism has moved on, many women have followed the path she laid. Karine G.
💬 The woman that has inspired me the most is my paternal grandmother. She exemplified strength during times of war, proving that women are capable of not only managing households but also working in traditionally male-dominated jobs. Jennifer M.
💬 Belinda Johnson (ex.Vedior MD) has inspired me in so many ways – she is my mentor, confidante, and vocal advocate for the recruitment industry. She is intelligent, intuitive, and a people's person, which is a testament to her power of resilience, empathy, open-mindedness, and commitment – no matter her circumstances or vulnerabilities. She has the unique ability to make people feel seen and heard and can provide solutions in any given situation. I admire her ability to enhance people's lives in a meaningful way, her work ethic and her dedication to excellence through sheer hard work. She has shown me that it is possible to overcome adversity and challenges to achieve great things while staying true to oneself and helping others along the way. Jay J.
💬 Angelina Jolie's talent, philanthropy, resilience, and dedication to making a positive impact in the world are some of the reasons why she has become an inspiration for me – and many people worldwide. She is a multi-award-winning actress and filmmaker, a humanitarian and activist who works tirelessly to help refugees and promote human rights, and a single mother who successfully overcame her struggles with mental health issues and substance abuse. Anna S.
💬 The women who have inspired me the most are Rosa Parks, for challenging race segregation, Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman to fly over the Atlantic Ocean while challenging gender bias back in the early 20th century, and - of course - Clara Zetkin, who initialised the IWD. Richard F.
Important words from important women
Current Issues Facing Women
Women and girls make up half the world’s population. Yet far too often, their experiences, voices, and contributions are ignored or undervalued. They are underrepresented in the halls of political and economic power and overrepresented in poverty, while barriers – from gender-based violence and discrimination to lack of opportunities and unequal laws – block progress and prevent women from reaching their full potential.
Workplace Gender Gap and Inequalities
Despite progress in recent years, there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender equality in the workplace. Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions, and in certain industries and fields, there is a significant lack of representation of women. Additionally, they earn less than men on average, are more likely than men to live in poverty, are less likely to have access to economic opportunities, and in many cases, continue to face discrimination, harassment, and unconscious bias in the workplace.
Closing the gender pay gap and increasing women’s participation in the labour force are essential steps toward economic empowerment for women. To address these issues, many organisations around the world have implemented policies and initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality in the workplace, like introducing gender quotas for their boards of directors or implementing equal pay policies.
The importance of workplace gender diversity
💬 Offices are much more pleasant to work in when there is a great "mosaic" of people, be it gender, nationality, age, LGBT etc. It creates a much better atmosphere and is likely to get better results. Anthony R.
💬 Gender diversity in the workplace means you can benefit from different viewpoints and approaches from different experiences. Multiple perspectives spark creativity and innovation, eliminating gender stereotypes. Inclusive culture also boosts morale, and inclusive workplaces have lower churn rates. Plus, a gender-diverse workforce and reputation also increase recruitment. According to McKinsey, gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability. Nasos P.
💬 Gender diversity is as important as personality diversity. Each person has something to share and contribute to another one. We should focus more on a person's abilities and not so much on whether they are of one gender or another. Jennifer M.
💬 Diversity is vital to a modern company, especially in a metropolitan city, because this is the society in which we live. It's also a way of taking on perspectives and opinions from every part of society and culture. If we all have one goal, these differences become stronger. It's also an opportunity to empathise with a diverse customer base. Karine G.
Access to Education
In many parts of the world, girls are still denied the right to education. According to a UNESCO report, 118.5 million girls between the ages of 6 and 18 worldwide were out of school in 2021, and about one out of every four young women in developing countries had never completed their primary school education. This vast number of uneducated girls represents a significant untapped woman power and potential – educated women are more likely to delay marriage, have healthier pregnancies and children, find employment, and earn higher salaries, among other advantages.
One of the most pressing issues facing women today is the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights and access to safe and legal abortion. Despite significant progress in some parts of the world, many women still face substantial barriers to accessing reproductive healthcare, including restrictive laws and policies, lack of funding and resources, as well as stigma and discrimination. This issue affects women’s health, autonomy, and economic opportunities and is a critical area where continued actions and advocacy are needed to ensure that women’s rights are protected and upheld.
Political Participation and Discrimination
In addition to the issues mentioned above, women also face significant challenges in areas such as political representation, media representation, and social norms and expectations. Women are still underrepresented in politics and the media globally and are often subjected to sexist and discriminatory attitudes and language. Increasing women’s participation in these areas is critical to ensuring their voices are heard, and their needs and priorities are addressed.
Breaking down barriers and stereotypes
💬 Many men still think that women are the ones responsible for making the household, even though they work the same amount of hours as men. Expecting any woman to be a perfect housewife, mother, cleaning lady, and successful businesswoman is absolutely outdated. Paulina S.
💬 For men or society to change the stereotyped image of women, we first must believe in ourselves and break down the mental barriers we or others impose on us. To achieve gender equality, we just need to accept the fact that we are all equal. Jennifer M.
Gender-based violence is a significant problem globally. According to the World Health Organisation, one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Whether it’s domestic abuse, sexual harassment, or trafficking, gender-based violence denies far too many women the opportunity to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
Rejecting prejudice and violence
💬 IWD means equality. Just accept people as they are. No prejudice. No violence. No homophobia or LGBT phobia. No racism. No sexism. No ageism or any other “isms”. The last two years have seen some appalling and unforgivable cases of violence against women. This is a disgrace. Anthony R.
The untapped potential of women remains a lost opportunity for growth and development. Every year, International Women’s Day reminds us that the fight for gender equality is not over and that there is still much work to be done to ensure that women have equal opportunities, access to education, healthcare, and representation in all spheres of life.
This Is a (Wo)Man’s World
The world we live in was built by men, for men. But as the song goes, "it wouldn't be nothing without a woman or a girl". Women have made incredible strides in many fields, and their perspectives and insights are invaluable in shaping a better future for all. Yet their contributions to society are often undervalued and overlooked.
While it is essential that women continue to advocate for their own rights and opportunities, achieving gender equality is not solely the responsibility of women. The support of male allies is also crucial in challenging harmful stereotypes and biases, dismantling the systems of oppression and creating a more just and equitable society that supports the potential of all individuals.
The role of men in achieving gender equality
💬 We must say no to sexism and treat all people with respect. Anthony R.
💬 Men have a crucial role to play in achieving gender equality. One of the first steps they can take is to educate themselves about gender inequality and its effects on women and society as a whole. Men should personally commit to practising gender equality in their own lives and holding themselves accountable for their actions. Challenging their own internal biases and preconceived notions about gender roles and stereotypes, leading by example, and speaking up when they witness sexism, harassment, or discrimination is essential. Men should also encourage other men to become allies in the fight for gender equality and take action to reduce violence against women at every level of society. Anna S.
💬 Men need to start listening to women’s experiences without downplaying sexism incidents. Also, crediting female ideas could help the still underrepresented leadership roles of women in workplaces. Men also need to become advocates for gender-equitable policies, such as the equal pay movement, by speaking up for pay transparency and confidential reporting structures of sexual harassment. We, as men, also need to challenge sexism and speak up and send a powerful message that sexism and sexist language won’t be tolerated. Nasos P.
💬 As men, we need to actively listen to women’s perspectives, challenge sexism, share tasks at home, emphasise women’s ideas at work, and treat them with fairness. Richard F.
Succeeding in a male-dominated world
💬 I have always worked in a male-dominated environment and never once felt intimidated by that fact. I am no different to any male competitor because I believe in meritocracy. If I am better than an applicant, male or female, I will progress on those terms. Karine G.
💬 I have never in my life felt that I am worse than any man out there…or woman. I believe that hard work, ambition and drive for personal growth can make everyone successful, regardless of their gender. Paulina S.
The global campaign theme for International Women's Day 2023 is #EmbraceEquity.
The campaign aims to spark important conversations about why equal opportunities alone are not enough and why "equal" isn't always fair. People come from all walks of life, so to achieve true inclusion and belonging, we must take equitable action that recognises and addresses all our differences and uniqueness.
Challenging gender stereotypes, calling out discrimination, drawing attention to bias, and actively seeking inclusion are all actions we can take to embrace equity. This collective action is what drives change, from grassroots efforts to wider-scale momentum. Embracing equity means deeply valuing and seeking out differences as a necessary and positive aspect of life and understanding the journey required to achieve women's equality.
From woman to woman – A piece of advice for career and life
💬 Don't be afraid to show your emotions at work – that's what makes you who you are. Dora M.
💬 Just be your strong and independent self, and never be afraid to show the world who you are and what you can achieve. You are just as equal and qualified as men. You can do anything you put your mind to, and nothing can stop you. You have the same rights as any other human in life. Clemence C.
💬 Always do what you think you can and give your best to achieve your goals. If you know who you are, you will go through life with confidence, and this will allow you to succeed in whatever you want for yourself. Jennifer M.
At Templeton & Partners, we pride ourselves on having a diverse and international team that is committed to delivering top-notch tech recruitment services across the globe. With a 68% female-led team, we understand the importance of inclusion and diversity in the workplace and strive to create an environment where every team member, client, and candidate feels valued.
Find out more about our multi-award-winning recruitment services.