It was International Women’s Day on the 8th of March! A day to celebrate the achievements of the many women across the globe and continue to call for gender equality.
For me, this day is so important. I am so proud to say that I have been democratically elected twice to lead and shape our Students’ Union and University. Last year I worked alongside four other strong independent women, and this year I hope I have been able to empower and inspire other women to stand in our elections.
It is never easy to put yourself out there and stand on a platform asking for people to believe in you. Trust me, I know. But this role has opened so many doors and has taught me so many things, especially about the power and opportunities that women have in the workplace.
So what is International Women’s Day and why should you celebrate it?
2018 is the 107th annual celebration and it is important to recognise how much has changed and how we can continue to #PressForProgress. 2018 is also the year that marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed the first women to vote for the first time. But over the years there have been many rights that we take for granted and we sometimes forget about the sacrifices that women made in order for us to have those rights. Whilst we have a female Prime Minister and more and more women working in STEM roles, we still live in a global society where women are harassed and where the gender pay gap exists. This gap is not expected to close until the year 2186 but it’s time for us to work harder to achieve gender equality and stop sexual harassment.
And work has started! This year we’ve seen the Time’s Up campaign at the BAFTAs, with almost every member of the audience wearing black. We’ve seen the #MeToo campaign with the white roses at the Brits. And now we have the annual International Women’s Day campaign - with a purple theme. Women’s global activism is playing a pivotal role and more women are speaking out and making political statements about how they have been treated, and more reports and media stories are being published. So whether you’re wearing black, white, purple or anything else, it is so important we recognise these movements and campaigns and celebrate women. It’s not just about the colours or the hashtags, it’s about the impact that these campaigns are having.
Did you get involved? You still can...
This year the University of Hertfordshire are hosting a variety of events to celebrate IWD. On 8th of March, there was a bake sale hosted by the Schools of Life and Medical Sciences and Health and Social Work to raise money for the local women’s refuge in Welwyn. There’s also a free screening of Suffragette on Monday 27th March at 5.30pm in Prince Edward Hall, as well as An Evening with ‘The Pride’ from the Women’s Networking Society and the University’s Equality Office. This event will take place on Tuesday 27th March at 6.30 in E351. For full details and other events, head over to StudyNet.
You can also get involved by posting a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram with #HertsPressForProgress. Just like this one of your female elected officers! And finally, you can simply start talking about gender equality and making sure that we can close the gap on gender pay and put a stop to sexual harassment.