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@womenofwolves asks what will you and your organisation do to achieve a better, more gender inclusive world #BeBold ForChange IWD 8.3.17

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International Women’s Day recognises the achievements of women across the globe. International Women’s Day has many roots. In 1910 the Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women’s rights and universal suffrage for women. No fixed date was selected for the observance but the following year an International Women’s Day was marked in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. More than one million women and men attended rallies. In 1917 Russian women protested and went on strike demanding “Bread and Peace”. The date, the last Sunday in February, was 8th March in the Gregorian calendar and this has been the date of International Women’s Day ever since.

In 2015 the UN agreed 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to end poverty, combat inequalities and promote prosperity while protecting the environment by 2030. SDG 5 is Gender Equality and gender is a factor in achieving all of the 17 goals. Follow “Planet 50:50 by 2030” to keep up to date with progress. Current evidence shows that unless we speed things up we won’t close the gender gap in Western Europe for another 61 years and we won’t have a gender equal world until 2186.

The top country in the world for gender equality is Iceland. The United Kingdom is 20th, behind most Western European countries plus Rwanda, Slovenia and others. Women in Wolverhampton fair less well than women on average in the UK. They are far less likely to be in the highest managerial employment than men (3.6% compared to 8%) and are more likely to be long term unemployed or have never worked (11.5% compared to 8.6%). 90% of lone parent households in Wolverhampton are headed by women and according to the Fawcett Society, women are more likely to rely on state funded benefits to live, “ in particular due to their caring responsibilities and their relative economic inequality and poverty”.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is #BeBold ForChange and is a call to accelerate gender parity, to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world. The question to ourselves, to decision makers, employers and investors is “Do we hear the call and what am I (my company/organisation) going to do to achieve a better, more gender inclusive world?”

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