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Happy International Women’s Day!
Today is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. This day aims to raise awareness about discrimination and take actions to drive gender parity.
This year’s theme is all about #EmbracingEquity.
Equity shouldn’t just be a nice-to-have, it should be an integral part of every society.
Through this theme, International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 aims to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t always enough. This acknowledges the fact that every individual doesn’t have the same starting point – so true inclusion and belonging requires equitable action!
Whilst this theme is fantastic for spreading awareness today, we recognise that ally-ship should run all year round. So, in support of #IWD2023, we’ll be shedding light on some initiatives that truly champion equity 365 days of the year. Check out our top five below!
1. Strut Safe
Founded after the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021 by two students, Strut Safe is a free phone initiative that allows anyone who feels unsafe walking home to speak to a volunteer.
Volunteers stay on the line with you until you get home. Phone lines are open all weekend from 7pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 7pm until 1am on Sundays.
Founder Alice Jackson was featured in Voxburner’s ‘Inspiring Young People Changing The World’.
Alice shared with Voxburner that “it takes all of us working together to create a future and achieve a society free from violence, and a huge part of that work is young people”.
You can learn more about Strut Safe’s initiative here.
2. Fair Anita
Fair Anita was started by entrepreneur Joy McBrien when she was just 24 years old.
The ethical jewellery marketplace has created financial opportunities for women in the global south. It does this by working with nineteen all-women artisan cooperatives.
These cooperatives are located in nine different countries – and there are around 8,000 women employed through them! Artisan partners are paid two to four times the minimum wage, have health insurance benefits, and access to educational scholarships.
The cooperatives aim to use almost 100% recycled materials for the jewellery.
Along with that, Fair Anita maintains strong ethical standards in the production chain. Founder Joy McBrien has shared her life mission is to help women feel safe, valued and respected – no matter where they are.
Importantly, McBrien recognises her privileges as a wealthy white woman. She noted recently that whilst she can still connect with many of the women she works with, there are still underlying power dynamics.
She recently shared that it “continues to be somewhat of a struggle to create this balance amongst the difference in privilege here. I’m trying to make sure the women here, in the communities we work with, have the resources they need to create better lives for themselves and their families. But I’m not gonna tell them how they do that.”
You can learn more about Fair Anita’s mission here (and check out some of their fabulous jewellery!).
August was founded by entrepreneur Nadya Okymoto in 2020. Since then, August has worked tirelessly to collectively democratise access to period health education and identify solutions for sustainable and comfortable period products.
Their core values are based around sustainability, impact and creating an inclusive community that affirms August is for anyone who menstruates – regardless of gender.
August currently has an #AskAugust database which allows users to access a judgement-free Q&A.
August also has a great TikTok presence, jam-packed with educational, fun and inclusive content.
4. Gender Pay Gap Bot
We wrote about this initiative last year, thinking it may be a one hit wonder – but alas, it’s back folks, just in time for IWD 2023!
Last year, this anonymous bot made waves on Twitter. Exposing one-by-one a stream of fluffy corporate-feminist statements, @PayGapApp automatically retweeted these statements, with a note about the reality of the organisation’s pay disparity.
Later revealed to be the work of Manchester-based copywriter Francesca Lawson and her partner, this account shedded light on an incredibly serious problem around the globe.
Ms Lawson shared in the New York Times that she hoped the popularity of her account would ‘show that there was more demand for data like this’.
Whilst some organisations deleted tweets that the bot highlighted, others chose to take accountability and make plans to address the gender pay gap.
One example was English Heritage, a UK-based charity that manages historical sites. It responded to the bot’s clapback, and released a statement that said the charity was ‘committed to eliminating’ the gap.
All eyes on you this year, English Heritage…
5. Buy Women Built
Behind every great brand is a great founder – but how many of these can you name as women?
A campaign to mobilise consumers to buy from female-founded businesses, Buy Women Built was created after seeing the staggering statistic that 81% of 11 to 18 year olds are unable to name a single female entrepreneur.
This initiative shines a light on women-built businesses, raising consumer awareness on the thriving range of businesses in the UK. Their site is currently segmented into four consumer categories: food and drink, health and beauty, fashion and clothing and home and lifestyle.
You can check it out here – we love the aesthetics!
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