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Play your part for gender equality

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

International Women’s Day falls on March 8 and this year the campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter.

This is all about driving for a better working world.

Balance is not a women’s issue, it is a business issue.

We are moving towards gender-balanced boardrooms, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth and gender-balanced sports coverage.

Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.

The first IWD occurred in 1911, supported by over 1m people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation-specific.

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist, once explained: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

Do the majority share this view or is the perception maybe that it is more of a feminist issue?

The #MeToo campaign has helped many women find a voice for the sexual exploitation they suffered many years ago, but we have discovered that it is men too, boys and girls, especially those who were vulnerable or felt powerless to act or speak out, who were victims. Therefore collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world is key.

IWD celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.

Changes have been seen in financial services in the past few years, with awards introduced for women only and some for diversity in the workplace.

Best employment practice now includes policies on inclusion, equality, diversity and challenges to bias, unconscious or otherwise, but more can be done.

This a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world.

Women have come a long way, yet there is still more to be achieved. IWD is celebrated annually on March 8, yet the global campaign theme continues all year long to encourage action.

Play your part to “better the balance, better the world”.

Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth