Why International Women’s Day matters

In a year of #MeToo and #TimesUp, we need to ensure that 2018 is remembered for change and action against the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

In a year of #MeToo and #TimesUp, we need to ensure that 2018 is remembered for change and action against the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

This morning while I was at my Pilates class, I overheard two women talking about International Women’s Day.

One asked the other if they knew it was today.  The other replied no, and said she didn’t really care as it doesn’t really matter.  Me being me, I couldn’t help but interrupt as I think International Women’s Day really does matter.

In a year of #MeToo and #TimesUp, we need to ensure that it’s not the year remembered for hashtags and colour codes at various award ceremonies.  Instead  this year should be remembered for change and action against the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

The massive uptake of #MeToo and #TimesUp shows that this is not about individuals, but about a system that needs change.

Going back to my conversation at Pilates, I expressed to my fellow devotees of “the core” that today’s International Women’s Day is more important than any before.

Forward together

Like many women, I have faced unwelcome sexual advances.  On each occasion, I felt threatened and scared.  In my younger PR days in London, a client repeatedly pestered me until I got my male boss to have a word.

More recently, I was sexually assaulted whilst walking through a market when I was overseas for work. Some very brave, elderly aunties came to my rescue with umbrellas and harsh words. Women helping women.

At Text100 we have an amazingly open and supportive culture. I was able to talk to my boss and colleagues at the time to ensure I no longer worked with the aforementioned client.

I also got some really good advice on travelling overseas by myself and a driver was made available to me.  I felt supported and heard, and action was taken.

At Text100 our aim is to build a culture of respect and equality, with the understanding that if things do go wrong, we deal with them as quickly as possible.

There are many workplaces that aren’t so progressive and there’s always more to do, both inside Text100 and beyond.  Today’s theme for International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. That’s what we need to do now.

Awareness is being raised and now it’s time for action.

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