Happy International Women’s Day! Today is International Women’s Day, but attention for women’s rights should of course not be limited to one day per year. At Sirius Legal, two of the fundamental building blocks of our firm, now 9 years ago, were full equality and respect for everyone, no matter age, experience, gender or job title and maximum attention for work life balance and family time. We should work to live and not live for work. In that sense, this years’ IWD theme “Balance for Better” is part of our DNA at Sirius Legal, not only today, but everyday of the year…
What is International Women’s Day and why do we celebrate it?
Since the 1900’s, women have obtained greater rights at work, greater equality in legislative rights, and increased visibility in every aspect of life.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 which was supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
Prior to this the Socialist Party of America as well as the United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and other groups already campaigned for women’s equality.
IWD does not represent a country, nor a specific group or organization but rather represents the collective efforts of everyone who cares about human rights in general and the rights of women in particular.
Unfortunately, despite the positive changes which occurred gradually since the beginning of the last century, women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence they are subject to is far worse than that of men.
To this day, Iceland is the only country in the world to make it mandatory for all firms and institutions with 25 or more employees (on a full time yearly basis) to obtain a “Pay Equality Certification” (Jafnlaunavottun) showing that they pay everyone in the same roles equally – no matter what their gender, sexuality, or ethnicity is.
Sadly, this example is rather unique and criticized by many with regards to its enforceability.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186.
This year’s theme #BalanceForBetter
The theme for IWD 2019 is #BalanceForBetter ; a wink to the growing global push for professional and social equality. Described as a “business issue”, the aim of this year’s theme is to encourage gender balance in boardrooms, in the media and in businesses as a way for economies to thrive. We all have (as individuals) the collective responsibility to drive gender parity.
Empowering women can be as simple as implementing employment policies that provide equal opportunities and rights for women, whilst also being considerate of personal motivations. Having an Equal opportunities policy, Flexible working policy and a Maternity policy are a great way to show an inclusive attitude.