International Women’s Day 2018: BVSC staff talk gender parity

Today is International Women’s Day – a celebration of the steps made toward gender parity, but also more importantly a call to action to continue forcing this issue in a progressive direction. 

This year’s theme is #PressForProgress. This means that although measures are being taken to address structural gender inequality, there is still a long way to go – with the World Economic Forum recently reporting that true gender parity is over 200 years away.

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BVSC staff on International Women’s Day 2018

So, with this in mind, staff here at BVSC have been thinking about what gender parity means to us – and what we can do individually to keep pushing gender parity in the right direction, both in and outside the workplace:

Brian Carr, Chief Executive Officer

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“Kofi Annan once said: ‘There’s no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.’ He’s right. For a better world, we men must do more than pay lip-service to gender equality. We must actively fight for women’s rights. #IWD2018 #PressforProgress

Elina Svantesson, Ageing Better Coordinator

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“To me, International Women’s Day is about raising awareness of human rights, and to listen to the voices of those most vulnerable.“

Jas Dhadley, Beyond the Basics Worker (Birmingham Changing Futures Together)

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“Over the next 12 months, I’m going to be inquisitive about how decisions are made. A lot of it may be unconscious bias, so it’s about raising awareness and making people sit back and think about why things are the way they are. Should we continue with the ‘it has always been like this, therefore it’s okay’ mentality? My answer to that is NO! In the West Midlands particularly, recent regional political developments have continued to reinforce rather than challenge these biases. Women are still hugely underrepresented when it comes to making big decisions that affect our whole region, so this is something I feel particularly passionate about.”

Stephanie Bloxham, BVSC Development Worker

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“This time last year I was celebrating this important day with some wonderful volunteers in Zambia and lots of inspiring people in the community. Many of the ongoing issues which impact women across the world were highlighted through a variety of performances, songs and powerful speeches . It was a very thought-provoking, empowering and beautiful day!”

Emma Clarke-Allsopp, Enterprise Development Coordinator

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“Working for BVSC as a line manager has made me more aware of the need for a strong equal opportunities policy in place when it comes to recruitment. And now, more than ever, it is our responsibility as individuals to promote this – uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”

Helen Cobain, Communications and Marketing Coordinator

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“We must constantly question our assumptions about women in order to remove barriers that limit women’s progress in the workplace.”

Flora McCall, Transition and Diversion Worker – Birmingham Changing Futures

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“International Women’s Day marks the success of women and their strength across the world. It is an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come in securing equality and a reminder of all that we have yet to do.  I plan to spend the next year building up the women that I am lucky to be surrounded  by and working with them to continue to achieve positive social change.”

Kate Knowles, Administration Officer – Ageing Better in Birmingham

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“To me, International Women’s Day is a strong reminder of the support that exists across the world in fighting the good fight against the patriarchy. Ideally we all do what we can in this effort on a daily basis. Whether that’s the small things, like calling out everyday sexism or the large things, such as standing up to oppressive regimes which threaten the safety of ourselves, our sisters, mothers and daughters. Existing within this system isn’t our choice, but for those of us who live in parts of the world and in the kinds of bodies which give us the privilege to, we have the choice to be allies to all women everywhere.”

To learn more about International Women’s Day and how you and/or your organisation can get involved, please visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

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