Kate Dobrucki

VP Communications and Womxn Who co-founder

Balance. It’s quickly becoming a trigger word for me. When I speak on panels or even our Womxn Who podcast guest after guest always asks – how do you balance it all Kate? How do you keep the balance? Find the balance? That’s my micro experience with the word lately; and to answer the questions - I don’t. And then, you put a global perspective/definition on balance and gender and the scales divide further. Wouldn’t it be amazing if in 2022 the scales truly were balanced? But they’re not, and that’s why we continue to celebrate IWD. We, collectively have to continue to push for that sort of balance.

And on our podcast – Womxn Who - we have fantastic conversations beyond March, we work with local and globally recognized women’s charities and businesses, and we also have a lot of fantastic allies. But we need more and I’m hoping that with some of the points highlighted below, one day you’ll consider being an ally for us too. Reach out at kate.dobrucki@dentsu.com to join the community!

Every 8th March we celebrate powerful women around the world, but we still have so much to do in terms of progress. Take a read through these 11 reasons why IWD is still so important, written by Hannah Rochell, posted on TogetherBand.

https://togetherband.org/blogs/news/why-we-need-international-women-s-day

 1. 28 girls a minute are being forced to marry against their will. Seems crazy right? But there are more than 250 million women alive today who were married before their 15th birthday, many against their will. This is a worldwide problem driven by deep-rooted patriarchal beliefs that girls only have value in roles as traditional housewives and homemakers, therefore it is not worth investing time and money into education or a life beyond marriage. And while the practice of child marriage is slowly declining – globally, 1 in 4 young women alive today were married during childhood, down from 1 in 3 in the early 1980s.

2. 35% of women have experienced violence. It’s estimated that one in three women will experience some kind of physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. And, as a result of national lockdowns, cases of domestic abuse have skyrocketed in what the UN has called the ‘shadow pandemic’. 67.4% of survivors who were experiencing abuse at the time of a Women’s Aid survey in April 2020, told the charity that things had gotten worse since COVID-19.

3. It will take 100 years to bridge the gender pay gap. The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 found that at our current rate, it will take another 99.5 years to achieve equal pay between men and women. Like many points on this list, the gender pay gap has only been worsened by the pandemic, with women facing higher redundancy rates and greater job instability as a result of economic shock. In the US the number of men unemployed went up from 3.55 million to 11 million between February and April 2020. Pretty bad right? Well during the same period things got even worse for women with unemployment rising from 2.7 million to 11.5 million.

4. In the United States, there are fewer women in leadership positions than there are men named John. Yes, you read that correctly: more men called John than women holding leadership roles. According to the 2018 Women in the Workplace report, only 38% of management positions are held by women. And for those that do break the glass ceiling, they are twice as likely as men to be mistaken for junior employees. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the amount of times I’ve walked into a board room and been given a coffee order rather than a chair pulled out. But despite everything going on in 2020, some good news was that about 8% of Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs - an all-time high, but still far from the 50% we want to see.

5. The character of the Joker has won more Oscars than the whole of womankind ever has for directing. In the 90 year history of the Academy Awards, just five women have been nominated in the Best Director category. Ever. The only winner was Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for the film The Hurt Locker. The character of The Joker, on the other hand, has earned an Oscar for both Heath Ledger (Best Supporting Actor, 2009) and Joaquin Phoenix (Best Actor, 2020).

6. 181 million girls and young women are not in education, employment or training. We all know that when we educate girls we enrich both individuals and communities - in every sense of the word too, from better employment prospects to better healthcare, educating young girls is essential. However, due to coronavirus, as of March 2020 89% of the world’s student population were not in school - this includes 743 million girls. When girls miss out on education this increases the risk of forced marriage, trafficking and poverty.

7. 72 countries don’t allow women to open a bank account. Saudi Arabia is among the countries that bar women from opening a bank account or obtaining credit, while others require a woman to be married before she can access financial services. More research from The World Bank shows that even in areas where women don’t have these restrictions, only 65% of women have bank accounts in comparison to 72% of men. 

8. 1 in 10 women have self-harmed because of their body image. According to a 2019 study by the Mental Health Foundation, 10% of women have felt so bad about their appearance that they have self-harmed. In a similar survey, King’s University found that 87% of women compare their body to images they consume on social and traditional media, and 50% of those compare them unfavourably.

9. Women make up 70% of the health workforce but hold fewer leadership positions than men in the sector. The coronavirus pandemic has truly shown us all how much we rely on the essential workers who run our health services. Globally women make up the majority of the workforce in this sector, but are underrepresented in leadership and also paid less than their male counterparts. What’s worse is that much of the early PPE was sized to fit men, leaving women on the frontline unnecessarily exposed to the virus.

10. Women are taking on three times as much domestic work as men. With the rise in homeschooling as a result of lockdowns, women have ended up bearing the brunt of the increased domestic workload. Whether that means teaching children, managing the household, cooking or cleaning, women have had to take on three times more work around the house and unpaid care compared to men, meaning the number of women in employment has dropped sharply.

11. Women face higher poverty rates than men – particularly if they are from a non-white background. Because of so many factors already on this list, it isn’t a surprise that women face higher poverty rates than men - wage inequality, unpaid labour, unemployment, the gender education gap.