International Women's Day
This month I thought I would write about my reflections of International Women’s Day. Each year the day seems to get bigger, with more coverage. Is that due to the increasing dominance of social media? Do more people and companies want to showcase the women in their organisations to promote their roles and inspire the next generation or is it because people see it as an easy marketing opportunity? It is more the first and second reason than the third thankfully but those that are just jumping on the media bandwagon quite often get called out and usually on social media.
There is always some that criticise the need for International Women’s Day and state when is International Men’s Day, the flippant reply usually given is every day. However, there is an International Men’s Day on 19th November every year, just you don’t see many organisations choosing to celebrate it on a grand scale, but they should it is a great opportunity to highlight positive male role models.
For me, International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women’s achievements and to promote role models who encourage young girls to achieve their dreams, but it is also a reminder that gender discrimination and bias still exists as much as we want to believe it doesn’t.
I don’t really remember seeing much about the day growing up or in my early career, but that is probably due to my age. I first actively got involved in International Women’s in 2016, a simple Facebook video as the CEO of Surrey FA talking about my journey in football. This theme continued for future events such as in 2020 at St Mary’s University at the Ideas Exchange Football Takeover. I don’t necessarily believe my journey is unique but the messages of the power of volunteering, being determined and working my way up to CEO and then becoming an entrepreneur running my own business hopefully inspires some.
This year I helped to organise a virtual conference for Fair Game UK, an organisation campaigning for independent regulation in football. I am their volunteer strategy director and when I joined back in October the plan was to hold the conference in person at AFC Wimbledon. In December due to the uncertainty around soaring Covid levels, we decided to make it a virtual event. We secured an amazing host and gathered some amazing speakers with the help of Fair Game’s little black book of contacts/ LinkedIn connections. Behind the scenes the lead up was busy, the morning of the event was manic (dealing with IT issues is not one of my strong points), but by the afternoon things started to settle down and I managed to catch some of the event myself.
I definitely have a new appreciation of the work that goes into running virtual events and without our tech support who knows what would have happened. I still need to catch up on some of the content of the day, but the feedback has been good, we had over one hundred attendees and the report we launched on the day got great coverage in the press. Overall, we increased the exposure of Fair Game and the need for gender equality in football, something I am very proud of being involved in.