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International Women's Day<br><br>

Date: 3 March 2020
Author: Councillor Liz Jaeger
Title: Deputy Leader and Vice-chair of Adult Social Services, Health and Housing Services Committee

Every year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March. It is a time to recognise inspirational women and a time to focus on gender equality, and what still needs to be done.

International Women’s Day has a surprisingly long history, going back to 1911. The day has been there through the struggles for universal suffrage, the days of the Women’s Liberation Movement, the iconic Spare Rib magazine, to today and the #MeToo campaign.

For my generation of baby boomers, now approaching retirement, conditions and opportunities in the workplace have changed for the better, though still not enough. Attitudes shift slowly and we aren’t there yet in many areas when tackling institutional sexism and addressing equal pay.

When I went back to work in the late 1980s after the birth of my first child, the majority view in the UK was that women with children under school age should stay at home. Today the most prevalent view is that part time work is best. So, we inch forward, though we have yet to provide sufficient and affordable childcare.

But issues facing women in other parts of the world can be of a different order altogether. One of the charities supported by IWD is the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, the world’s largest association for girls, representing 10 million girls in 150 countries. They empower girls to speak out, to realise their potential and be agents for change, challenging issues like violence against women and girls.

So, if you are involved in an IWD event this week, think about these girls across the world, and lets redouble efforts to get a fairer deal for women, here and everywhere.

One such event taking place in the borough on Thursday 5 March is the Be Brave, Be Bold, Change the World conference with a panel of inspiring businesswomen presenting their journeys to success. The conference is organised by Richmond Council and will be opened by the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames – Cllr Nancy Baldwin. Speakers include Bryony Farmer who founded the eco-friendly menstrual products business Precious Stars and Shavata Singh who founded Brow Expert. It is sure to a truly inspiring day!

Updated: 24 March 2021