Men deserve a day too! Equality is what we’re all about. #BalanceforBetter
Rumour has it that at least one McDonalds outlet has turned its iconic ‘M’ sign upside down for International Women’s Day. Accessorize is selling a £5 feminist necklace and Serena Williams is challenging us all to show the world exactly what a little oestrogen-fuelled ‘crazy’ can achieve in a pair of Nike trainers.
Once upon a time International Women’s Day was the focus of a debate in Parliament. Today, our politicians seem too busy worrying about Brexit to devote their attentions to the ongoing question of women's rights.
Alongside the gimmicks however, there have been some big achievements with more progress set to come. Hotels are committing to improved equality in the workplace after being called out last year for not having enough women in top jobs. Since then the number of women in leadership positions has increased by 3%.
So we would like to take a moment to celebrate women empowering women, women breaking stereotypes, to building a gender-balanced world, by looking at what we have achieved in the last two years:
We’re still waiting for equal pay and the changes are not happening quickly enough. However, progress is being made and hospitality is way ahead of other industries. In our world, the median pay gap between men and women is 1%, while the national average is a 9.7%.
Flexible working makes work/life balance easier for everyone, especially working mums. Challenging the stereotypes of women in businesses, flexibility allows us more opportunity to juggle all the roles we have to play in our lives. So it’s good news that flexible working is on the rise and employers are embracing career breaks, secondments and sabbaticals, while paid paternity leave is also on the rise.
No one could help but be swept up in the #MeToo movement last year. It saw women empowering women against sexual harassment and gave many of us the courage to speak out. It’s horrifying, if not entirely surprising, that this institutionalised harassment was also exposed in the hotel industry. However, the movement did force action to be taken. Hospitality Speaks launched a website where staff could report experiences of abuse. Meanwhile, in Chicago hotels were also encouraged to install panic buttons for staff working alone in rooms with clients. The conversation is open and there’s no more quiet acceptance of such behaviour.
Last year the Republic of Ireland voted to overturn the abortion rights ban by 66.4% to 33.6%. It was a historic moment for women's rights in Ireland that recognised the need to trust and respect women’s own decisions and choices.
Men still outnumber women MPs in the House of Commons and if #MeToo taught us anything, it’s that even where we have equality it is still in need of protection. However, we do have powerful voices. We can, and do, shout loud when our rights are challenged. And together, with our male feminist allies (thank God for Justin Trudeau!) we have the power to drive change. In 2019 we should all be feminists, and it seems that much of the world agrees with us, including male feminists who believe in the same equality we do. Thanks, boys!
Happy International Women’s Day from all the team at Fashionizer!