Phew! I think everyone in Liverpool needs a nap after yesterday’s busy schedule. Events were popping up as people from all over the city came together for International Women’s Day. Yesterday was all about celebrating women, their achievements, and discussing what challenges we all face and how to overcome them. At Launch22 we sat down for a big chat with an awesome panel and a great crowd over some lovely breakfast.
2 hours of discussing and debating a wide range of topics and ideas left us all feeling empowered and ready to take action. Therefore, we wanted to outline some of the things we think we can all do to #PressForProgress.
Something we took away from Women’s Day is the importance of diversity and issues that often go unsaid in conversations about gender. Women of colour, transgender women, women from different faiths, cultures, backgrounds; women who are fighting battles that some may feel they have already won. There is still a long way to go to create an equal society and we can take strides forward by considering not just what it means to be a woman or a man, but other factors that greatly affect a person’s experience. Choosing events, who to employ, who to bring on as a trustee or board member, and who to celebrate, we will be working towards actively increasing diversity at Launch22. It’s about looking beyond the issues we face as individuals and becoming allies to all types of people.
Open up opportunities to young people
When we are young, our education and experiences shape who we become and what we do. Therefore, it is important that from a young age we are encouraged to do anything and everything. Currently there is still a gender gap in a lot of industries, specifically in the tech sector. There are some fantastic groups in Liverpool tackling the gender and opportunity gap, such as OH and Liverpool Girl Geeks. They are championing alternative education and getting young people involved in the digital and creative sector. By boosting the visibility of females in different roles, we can encourage more girls to aim for them in their futures. Whatever your business, you can inspire younger generations by inviting them to your workspace, showcase the diversity and culture of your organisation, or go to schools and discuss what opportunities are available for all.
At Launch22, we will continue to approach and work with more schools and universities to show young people, especially women, that they can start a business and work in non-traditional sectors too.
Encourage men to join the conversation
We were pleasantly surprised to see an increase of men at our IWD event this year. Going from 0 last year to 2 this year is a small step, but an improvement nonetheless. Discussing these topics together is how we can learn to understand each other and achieve gender parity. Hosting gender specific events or groups, such as targeting Women’s Day events at a female crowd only, eliminates the possibility of bringing more voices and perspectives to the conversation. To truly make changes to how our society works, we have to open the conversation up for all to get involved. Targeting different people in different ways when we advertise can ensure that we are appealing to all types of people. We will encourage more of our male members to get involved in conversations about gender and make sure we have an even higher male turnout at next year’s IWD event!!
Share the positive stories
Many strides have been taken to bring about gender parity for over 100 years and it’s encouraging to hear the stories that show progress. It helps push forward the movement. The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report tells us that gender parity is over 200 years away. We still have many challenges to face, more statistics to smash, but we have achieved so much.
During our IWD breakfast, we heard from Emma Carey at MSB, who is part of a workforce of 50/50 male to female split of partners with an 80% female workforce, which is fantastic to hear. We have so many great women in business in Liverpool who are all encouraging women to get involved and take on new opportunities. We even have a whole organisation, The Women’s Org, dedicated to helping women in business. We hope to add more positive outcomes to the mix. We are working to bring more support tailored to women and to provide a space that is welcoming to all.