International Women’s Day takes place on Friday 8 March this year, and provides an important platform to showcase commitment to women’s equality.
Throughout the world governments, educational institutions, community groups, women’s networks, charities and non-for-profit bodies, the media and many more celebrate International Women’d Day every year.
Each year, there is a
different theme for International Women’s Day – in 2019 the campaign is #BalanceforBetter,
a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.
International Women’s Day is an important day for inspiration and change. We spoke to our director Kathie Wilcox about what it means to her, what we can do to drive gender balance and how other women have inspired her.
does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day provides a brilliant opportunity to celebrate and champion women who are achieving great things – no matter what their age, walk of life or background. It also provides a platform for both women and men to challenge and spark debate about gender inequality.
The past year has seen tremendous momentum behind the women’s equality movement with campaigns like #TimesUp and #MeToo generating headlines right around the world. International Women’s Day enables us to build on this increased profile – encouraging women to speak out against harassment and discrimination and empowering women everywhere to achieve their true potential.
theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. What can we do to
drive gender balance?
I’m a firm believer that driving gender balance has to start young, at both home and school. It’s not a women’s issue; it’s a family issue, an education issue and a community issue… long before it becomes a business issue. Mums, Dads, extended families and teachers can all play a pivotal role in challenging stereotypes and celebrating women’s achievements – not just with, and for, girls but boys as well. It’s during the formative years that children shape their views of the world and their place in it.
Kathie with her two daughters.
As a mum to two young girls (aged 9 and 11), I’m passionate about their right to achieve anything they put their minds to; in school, in their social lives and ultimately in their careers.
Thankfully, I’d describe Dad / Mr Wilcox as a thoroughly modern feminist too! It’s important to both of us that the girls see our careers are equally important and rewarding. And it’s also important that we genuinely share the responsibilities of parenting and family life.
Through films, books and dinner table chat we both encourage them to notice and be inspired by positive female role models, everyone from Serena Williams to Star Wars heroine Rey.
Which woman has inspired you most and why?
My mum undoubtedly inspired me from a young age. My mum worked full-time as a teacher whilst juggling three children, one with special needs. She showed me first-hand that women can be simultaneously caring, tough, resilient and successful in their own right, no matter what the challenges. Mum wasn’t especially career-focused but to my mind she achieved so much, whilst always being there for me.
As a shy youngster, Mum nurtured me to succeed. She suggested I take up drama to develop my confidence, encouraged me to challenge myself academically, and supported me to grasp opportunities and take on challenges outside of my comfort zone. All of which definitely helped positively shape my view of the world and my potential.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is undoubtedly the people I work with and the diversity of the role. We spend so many of our waking hours at work. So it’s really important to me that I’m motivated by the team around me and the job in hand. No two days are ever the same at NGI Solutions and my new leadership role challenges me every day.
It’s also great to work for an organisation with lots of talented women in leadership roles (including our chief executive Sarah Stewart). It’s a fast-paced but creative, supportive and flexible environment for women of all ages to develop and succeed.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve
ever been given?
Never let anyone tell you
what you’re capable of.
As a chronic self-doubter and imposter syndrome sufferer, I have enough of a job telling myself what I can achieve, but this advice has always stuck with me. It’s really empowering to consciously decide and acknowledge that no-one else can dictate your limits. It’s equally rewarding to encourage and support other women to believe this of themselves.
What do you
like to do out of work?
Living at the coast I love to walk by the beach and eat out – as much as time, and budget allows. In the past year, I’ve also discovered a newfound love of spinning – which helps with working off the fine food, easing stress and building my fitness levels all in one go!
But for the most part (if I’m not at work or playing chauffeur to my gymnastics and dance obsessed children) I am happiest with a glass a wine, a cat in my lap and Pinterest on my iPad. Not particularly inspirational on International Women’s Day I admit, but it’s the downtime that keeps me sane!
People celebrate International Women’s Day in many ways throughout the world – from large international events through to local activities. For more information on how you can get involved, visit: www.internationalwomensday.com/