International Women’s Day 8th March 2023 (Gender)

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8th March and this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity that recognises the role we can all play in fostering a more inclusive world (IWD: International Women's Day 2023 campaign theme: #EmbraceEquity). Since its establishment in the early 1900s, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. 

However, many women are still fighting to be taken seriously, to be given a job offer, a promotion and equal pay. (On International Women’s Day, employers join the CIPD to create inclusive workplaces | CIPD). There is still a lack of female representation in executive positions compared to non-executive roles, meaning that women are still underrepresented in operational roles, so they don’t have the day-to-day influence of decision-making roles in UK business (Gender equality at work | CIPD Viewpoints). The gap in female representation at board level is visible for instance between the UK with 32% compared to 46% in Iceland (ranked no.1). According to the World Economic Forum, it will be another 132 years before we achieve economic gender parity on labour force participation, salaries and representation in leadership positions (Global Gender Gap Report 2022 | World Economic Forum).

Achieving better gender balance in the workplace

  • Analyse pay data, identify any gender gaps and publish findings to focus attention on important gender equality issues, for example, a lack of flexible working, occupational segregation and pay discrimination. Use this CIPD Gender pay gap reporting guide.
  • Prioritise succession planning and talent management of women across the organisation to help them receive broad experience across the business, leading to more women being appointed to more executive roles such as Chair, CEO and CFO.
  • Address the challenges facing pregnant women and working mothers e.g. allowing more flexible working and support for child care.
  • Provide more opportunities and support to enable women to return to work after a career break including training and mentoring programmes.
  • Review induction programmes to ensure new starters feel welcome, informed and aware of the support available.
  • Review your workforce policies to ensure that everyone feels they are treated fairly, and supported in their development.
  • Review recruitment and selection processes including using gender neutral language, setting up a diverse balanced interview panel, creating a balanced shortlist for management roles, consider using anonymous CVs.

Ways to celebrate IWD in the workplace

  • Bring together your team to volunteer/fundraise for a female-focused charity – take a look at IWD Charities of Choice or make an impact in your local community.  

  • Invite an external speaker to inspire and inform your employees. From motivational keynote addresses to engaging niche topic experts, a great speaker can bring a new perspective.

  • Promote IWD through internal and external communications i.e. employee newsletter or public-facing social media platforms. Highlight women's accomplishments, educate about female-focused topics, or perhaps share some inspiring quotes by women, for women.

“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women's voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored." (Sheryl Sandberg).

We must all continue to embrace equity and ensure women and other diverse people from all backgrounds and experiences are treated fairly and given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Lizzy Turek

Client Research Associate

International Women’s Day 8th March 2023 (Gender)