Organisers of International Women’s Day, which celebrates the achievements of females across the world, have called for greater awareness of gender inequality.

This year for International Women’s Day (IWD) the hashtag #PressforProgress is being shared to unite friends, colleagues and entire communities and encourage gender inclusiveness.

This action is especially relevant in light of issues surrounding the gender pay gap, sexual prejudice in the workplace and even in Hollywood following over 50 claims of sexual harassment against producer Harvey Weinstein.

While the fight for gender rights may seem like a recent battle, the first ‘National Women’s Day’ actually took place in 1909 in the United States as a result of labour movements at the start of the twentieth century.

Nottingham residents discuss their opinions on IWD

A variety of events to commemorate IWD are being held globally, including in Nottingham where The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University joined forces to present a ‘Nottingham Presses for Progress’ event featuring guest speakers and lecturers, and female empowerment champion, Mayah Riaz, hosted a lunch in Pitcher and Piano to recognise the day.

Creating Your Own stories: Lessons From Inspirational Women was held in Surrey this week to share the career paths of five successful females and explain how they pushed past gender boundaries to achieve their goals.

Karen Rothery talking at the ‘Creating your own stories’ event

The women shared their stories on a panel, addressing key issues within different industries and developing solutions to how attitudes can be improved.

“I’m a bit bored with the gender debate now. i’ve been talking about opportunities for women for thirteen years.”
Karen Rothery, CEO Surrey sports park

Some expressed their frustration at the lack of progress being made for gender equality despite so many efforts.

Karen Rothery is the current CEO of Surrey Sports Park and talks about her experiences relating to equal opportunities.

“I think you make your own luck in your career, and in life. I’m a bit bored with the gender debate now. I’ve been talking about opportunities for women for thirteen years and we are now at a place where everybody’s talking about it and now we just need to get on and behave in that way.”

Gail Emms, Olympic medallist

Another panel member, Gail Emms, is an Olmypic silver medallist in Badminton, now retired and working with relevant brands and delivering motivational speeches about her life.

Gail Emms on gender equality in sport

Gail’s perspective focuses on how women who choose to pursue sport as a career do have to push themselves harder than male counterparts, but that females can “rewrite the rule books” and “change the record” if they work for it.

Look how far we’ve come

1918 – Some women earned the right to vote thanks to the Suffragette movement

1967 – Abortion act introduced

1970 – The first equal pay act introduced

1979 – First female UK Prime Minister elected

2014 – He For She campaign founded

2018 – Times Up movement