International women’s day

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This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) is on the 8th March 2021. The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge. The IWD day website notes:

A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So, let’s all choose to challenge. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

At the University of Gloucestershire, the Women’s network is using this day to highlight women within the university and finding out who has been their inspiration. Additionally, there will be a women’s network meeting on the day providing an opportunity for people to share their stories and their inspirational role models.  

We can see inspiration within the sporting environment from those who are constantly creating challenge. Serena Williams is a perfect example; from what she wears, this year’s Australian Open with her one-legged cat suit being inspired by Flo-Jo, to her investing in a new franchise in the National Women’s Soccer League. She has shown no fear to challenge the boundaries surrounding pregnancy and maternity leave, winning the Australian Open in 2017 whilst eight weeks pregnant. However, she is not the only female tennis star to challenge, Naomi Osaka used her platform at the US open to support and promote Black Lives Matter. She did this by wearing a different face mask for each round of the tournament bearing a different naming a Black person whose death was caused nationwide protests.

I think people see challenge as something that is often confrontation, but it does not need to be, it can just be using your platform. An example of challenge that is not confrontational occurs in Parliament every IWD. Every year Jess Philips MP, on IWD, reads out the name of women killed by their partners within the year. She does this to commemorate the women, to raise the profile of the issue using her platform for challenge and to create change. As she said in her speech last year the number of names she reads goes up, not down.

Also consider this day as an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements. Just some examples in the last month within the sporting world that you might have missed in the main sporting news. Pip Hare last month only became the 8th women to complete the Vendee Globe Race, a singlehanded yacht race around the world. To give you an indication of her achievement more people have walked on the moon. Also in February, Jasmine Harrison became the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic. Some incredible achievements that received national recognition.

So, on this IWD consider how you might choose to challenge within the environments that you work, socialise or study in. Also consider who is your inspiration and who you might want to celebrate. For more information about IWD please check out the website

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