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R13 News

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today marks international women’s day and the theme for this year is #BalanceForBetter, with the focus being on creating a more gender-balanced world. This is not just a women’s issue, this is an issue for businesses as a whole. The campaign doesn’t just end today either, it’s a yearlong campaigning with the goal of creating a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees etc…

R13 was built by our founding directors, Rebecca Headden and Ruth Harding, both fantastic examples of wonder women in business, that’s why it’s so important for R13 to take a look at the facts, the women that inspire us and how we can all help make for a better balance.

Let’s look at the facts

When it comes to issues surrounding gender diversity, some people don’t see the problem. So compiled a quick list of some key facts regarding gender diversity:

  • Women make up 47% of the UK workforce.
  • Eliminating gender discrimination in relation to occupation and pay could increase women’s wages by about 50% and national output by 5%.
  • According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won't close until 2186.
  • Women are paid less than half than men at some of Britain's major companies, according to recent gender pay gap figures.
  • Women make up 23% of those in core STEM occupations.
  • Women make up just 32 per cent of MPs in UK parliament.
  • 62 million girls are denied education all over the world.
  • Over 137,000 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty.

What women inspire you?

Jess:

“Having just recently completed Michelle Obama’s autobiography, I’ve been really inspired by her life and the impact she has made. Her driven and motivational approach combined with her natural compassion and the want to make a difference is admirable and influential on us all.”

Kim:

“One of my biggest female inspirations is Baroness Hale, a major figure for women in the law, she is the first female President of the Supreme Court who is passionate about increasing the amount of diversity among the judiciary.”

Dan:

“Sam Gordon. She rose to fame of YouTube when a video of her playing American football against boys. When playing against all male players, she scores 25 touchdowns and surpassed 1900 yards in her first season. At the age of 12, she was a founding member in the first all-girls American football league based in Utah. She is paving the way for women’s American football.”

Rebecca:

“P!nk. The life lessons of positivity she uses her platform to portray to her children and to the world are inspirational.”

Alex:

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. She has a unique and bold social media presence and is dominating the political landscape with a refreshing and honest outlook, creating a platform that has already resulted in real positive change. Politics is often unbalanced with a significant male dominance and it is inspiring to see a woman embrace innovative, modern technology to communicate her message.”

Ben:

“Zaha Hadid was an idol of mine throughout my university years, creating innovative, breath-taking and iconic architectural marvels that inspired and changed the world skyline. In an industry led by men, Zaha stood by her designs and gained the rightful respect and admiration she attained. Winning numerous awards and accolades for her inspirational and striking projects across the world until her death in 2016, her legacy lives on through some of the most exciting architectural structures and her dominance and defiance against the ‘straight line’, makes her a truly inspiring architect.” 

Louise:

"Laura Muir is a great inspiration to me, as a keen runner myself her passion and dedication to running is incredibly admirable. She is a brilliant example of an excellent sportswoman and a great role model for young girls.”  

Luke:

“Lesa Bennett, Co-Founder of Olivia Burton. Left a great job as an buyer at ASOS and with her best friend, Jemma Fennings, set up OB Watches. They saw a gap in the market for affordable, fashionable feminine watches and went after it. Grew the business through their great designs, affordable watches and are now a household name, with their watches being sold internationally within a six year period. The Telegraph named them “the biggest success story in British watchmaking this century.”

How can we achieve #BalanceForBetter?

Alex:

“We have made some strides towards gender equality, but still have a long way to go. It’s important to learn from the mistakes of the past and empower the next generation to have every possible opportunity to succeed. Positively influencing the beliefs and actions of others to encourage an equal platform where anyone has the opportunity to prosper and thrive regardless of gender.”

Rebecca:

“Start with tomorrow’s leaders - educating young people about equality and diversity will mean that yesterday’s generation of inequality will become obsolete with yesterday’s leaders.”

Dan:

“To build a gender balanced world, society should educate all about the importance of diversity. Further, it should be highlighted how the future is shaped by the decisions we make, and aim to remove inequality in all its forms.”

Ben:

“Being male or female doesn’t make you less creative, less determined, less passionate, or less talented etc…you are who you are and make the best of the opportunities in front of you. No-one should stand in the way of your ambitions and aspirations, so work hard, follow your dreams and you can achieve anything you want. #balanceforbetter”

Jess:

“Gender Balance needs to be continually spoken about as a vital matter, challenging views and educating everyone on the importance of equality and diversity. Raising future generations to have no limits and live a life free from out dated view-points!”

What issues do women in business still face?

Rebecca:

“People’s perception of gender specific roles can still be out dated. This is changing with awesome programs which encourage girls and women into traditionally male dominated sectors and leadership roles, as well as more and more independent female led businesses and amazing women taking the helm in big business. The tide is turning, and I hope true equality will be seen within our time. “

Jess:

“The challenge of traditional stereotypes and the view of gender specific roles within the workplace are still held with an outdated view point. Regular reports of publicised pay gaps and statistics on job roles showcase an on-going issue. However, things are improving and you only have to look around to see case-studies of where females are working with no limitations and fulfilling roles which in the past have been traditionally more male-dominated.”

Kim:

“One issue is that there are not enough female role models in senior roles. Many women are now breaking into previously male-dominated roles. but there is still room for improvement, with more female role models in senior roles, it can encourage the next generation to see no limits as to what they can achieve. Another massive issue is the difference in gender pay gap, this is also improving with companies being required to report on this but there are still gaps to be closed.” 

Louise:

“For me one of the key challenges is reducing the gender pay gap, I think if we can do this then it would great progress for women in business.”

To find out more about International Women’s Day and the #BalanceForBetter head to https://www.internationalwomensday.com/.

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