By Kim Jansen

Every year on March 8th, the world marks International Women’s Day (IWD) – a day to celebrate the incredible social, economic, cultural, and political contributions of women. It’s also a powerful reminder that the fight for gender equality continues.

The first IWD was held in 1911, and in 1977, the United Nations officially recognised its importance. This year’s theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” captures the essence of IWD. When we encourage the understanding and inclusion of women, we create a better world for everyone. It fosters a sense of belonging, empowerment, and unleashes the full potential of women in all areas of life. As the wisdom of the famous African Proverb teaches, “If you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a generation.”

In a refreshing awards ceremony hosted by the SACC UK, it was a delight to see a significant number of female finalists and winners, reinforcing the importance of tapping into the unmistakable contribution that women make as innovative problem-solvers in society. IWD is a chance to reflect on how we can include women everywhere.

This inclusion means embracing their rich diversity – race, age, ability, faith, body image, and gender identity. It’s a call to action for each of us – how can we ensure women and girls feel included? Sharing this knowledge, supporting others in their inclusion efforts, and advocating for change are all crucial steps towards achieving gender parity.

While we have a long way to go, we must acknowledge the strides that have been made. At the recent “Seat at Her Table,” hosted by The Innovator Trust, Award-winning South African businesswoman in ICT, Charmaine Houvet, posed the poignant question; “Women are taking up spaces, but the question now is are there enough women in enough spaces?” This is where organisations come into play.

Organisations can play a decisive role by actively addressing the needs and aspirations of women and girls. This can be achieved through:

  • Economic empowerment initiatives to support women financially
  • Diversity and inclusion programmes in recruitment, talent development, and leadership positions
  • Encouraging participation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) by girls and women
  • Developing infrastructure that caters to the specific needs of women and girls
  • Promoting women’s health literacy and providing access to quality healthcare
  • Supporting women’s involvement in sustainable agriculture and food security
  • Ensuring access to quality education and training for girls and women
  • Celebrating women’s achievements in sports and the arts.
  • And continuously seeking ways to advance the progress of women and girls further.

Let’s use International Women’s Day as a springboard for action. By inspiring inclusion, looking beyond ‘talkshops’ and actively working towards gender equality, we can create a brighter future for all.



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