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  • Oyelola Oyetunji

Celebrate womanhood this Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month.




It’s an opportunity to celebrate womanhood, to recognise the role of women in history, society and culture. A chance to acknowledge how far we’ve come whilst still pushing to see more progress.


What began as a single day in 1975 (International Women’s Day), has now evolved into a month-long celebration in honour of women across the world; past, present, and future.

Women are changemakers. The impact we have today will echo through generations, as it has in the generations before us.


This month, we put a spotlight on women and gender equality.


Spotlight on gender equality

In 2015, the United Nations committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One of those goals (#5) focused on gender equality – an aspirational target to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls across the globe by 2030. However, since 2015, there’s been marginal progress toward gender equality[i]. The current COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped.


Women have less power, less influence and fewer resources compared to men. This is not okay.


Did you know:

  • Gender inequality is a major cause and effect of poverty. Around 60% of chronically hungry people are women and girls (World Food Programme, 2015)

  • ·Of the 758 million adults who lack basic reading and writing skills, two thirds are women (UNESCO, 2014)

  • ·Globally, women earn 32% less than men (World Economic Forum, 2018)

  • · In Australia, women earn on average 13.4% less than men (WGEA, 2020)


Research shows that when more income is put in the hands of women, health and education improves for the generations after them. Yet, women are still chasing the tails of men in the workplace and society. Though most companies claim to hold gender diversity as a top priority, we’re still yet to see this translate into tangible action.


So, how can you and I contribute to seeing real change and action for equality?


Choose to Challenge

The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 was ‘Choose to Challenge’. You probably noticed the hashtag used across all social media channels on March 8, encouraging a challenged world.


Because, from challenge comes change.


I don’t know about you, but today and every day I choose to challenge the biases, stereotypes and mindsets that have held women back and stopped us from rising to be who we’re called to be in this world.


We rise by lifting others

One thing that has stopped women from rising to their rightful positions is lack of visibility and empowerment. From men and other women.


In our attempt to break the figurative glass ceiling, women have too often been pitted against each other – especially in the workplace. That doesn’t seem right, does it? Men have no trouble progressing through the ranks, without fear of there not being a place for them.


I want to see a world where women are given the space to grow and thrive in leadership positions and do it their way, without the pressure to behave a certain way to get there. Don’t you?


It’s a world where women support other women and men also support women. Let’s bin the mindset that my success detracts from your success. Life isn’t a zero-sum game; we rise by lifting others.


Paying it forward

In honour of Women’s History Month, what can you do to celebrate womanhood and contribute positively to the journey towards gender equality?

If you’re able, start by paying it forward. Contribute to a social cause focused on empowering girls and women. Some of my favourite not-for-profit organisations include:


We all have a role to play to see positive change for women everywhere.


___________________________


Author bio

Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. She works closely with the financial services, education and not-for-profit industries, writing website content, blogs, business communications and customer success stories. When not writing for clients, Oyelola provides insights on writing, wealth and work on her Phrased with Purpose blog and shares her faith journey on her personal blog, He Speaks, I Write.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------- [i] Krishnan et al., ‘Ten things to know about gender equality’, McKinsey, https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/ten-things-to-know-about-gender-equality#, accessed 17 March 2021.

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