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Five Inclusive Ways To Recognise This International Women’s Day

Written by: Lauren Anders Brown, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Last week on the door of the local pizza restaurant there was an advertisement for a ‘Women's Day Pizza Bar.’ The International Labour Organization states women overall still earn 20% less than men. In terms of slicing up a pizza, that means women get one less slice of the pie. As a New Yorker, I love the fact that we’re finally getting our piece of the pie there is more work to be done and that you can do this March.

Girlfriends eating pizza in bed and watching TV

1. Get out of the office


In the most recent McKinsey report ‘Women In the Workplace’ in 2022, women are leaving their companies at the highest rate in years due to several factors, but most result in the lack of work recognition and their inability to be promoted to senior management positions. Women are willing to change jobs to get the job position and recognition they feel they deserve. I have been fortunate enough to avoid corporate life, but I see this issue arising for my friends who work for large corporations time and time again. One year, in my way to recognise the women who often go unrecognised for their work in the office I chose to put up my out-of-office for the day with this statement: Today is International Women's Day and in solidarity, I have chosen not to work today and come into the "office." I will respond as soon as possible, and if this in any way has disrupted our work together-then today has been a success and you've felt the affect of a day without a woman.

Thank you for your understanding.


I wasn’t actually ‘out-of-the-office,’ I still had deadlines to meet and emails that needed to be addressed but it made for a great conversation in those email threads when my clients got my out-of-office and raised their awareness of what their work would be like if I had decided to be unavailable for that day. Consider what you might be able to put as your ‘out of office’ on the 8th of March, or post on social media in support of IWD 2023.

2. Drop off, donate, or change supply orders to include menstrual supplies


Period poverty is a global issue, and equitable and easy access is a struggle even in the world’s leading countries. I’ve interviewed women of all ages across Africa and spoken about menstruation openly in articles and interviews. I even made a game about it. There are several ways to support women this month in their menstruation. If you’re responsible for the procurement of supplies for a toilet, see how you can adjust purchasing to include some supplies on hand for women to access. There is an unspoken theory that if menstrual supplies are left out, women will hoard them all. This already happens with toilet paper, and procurement specialists even have a term for it called shrinkage. If there is a budget for shrinkage, there’s room for menstrual supplies. If you don’t have a toilet to let them be accessible but have a shop, leave some free supplies by the register. If you’re just looking to donate, here is a crowdsourced map showing where you can access or send free supplies to make a difference for women this month, quite literally. If you know of locations offering supplies that aren’t on there, go ahead and submit the information to have it added.

3. Support women in art, business, and culture


Scroll your movies and music, look at your bookshelf whether it be physical or electronic, and take a moment to look around the four walls around you. How much of what you have in your space was made or purchased from a woman? If your answer is none or I do not know, both of those answers give you something actionable to address. Make meaningful purchases this day, or month and see if you can carry them on throughout the rest of the year. Focus on supporting women-led businesses, and independent female artists, pick up a book written by a woman and pay for a cinema ticket or purchase a film online directed by a woman. In the quest for equality, we do not need to embargo men. At times it will be unavoidable in making purchases from businessmen or watching a film from a male director. But see if you can balance that with a conscious one-to-one effort: for every purchase made from a businessman see if you can make the next one or an additional one from a businesswoman/artist.

4. Recognise unpaid work and make it paid


Leading an active life requires support, and this support is often found in day-to-day activities that can be classified as unpaid work: cooking, cleaning, laundry, deliveries, and everyday errands. In an era before you could push a button on an app and have your groceries delivered, carrying out these day-to-day activities took time away from women who were given the responsibility of them. It has contributed to what has set women back in terms of equality. For a long time, I had that sense of pride in keeping a household until I visited Colombia. I was traveling with a friend who had us stay at a family member’s apartment. When we arrived, there was a meal already prepared for us and the place was spotless ‒ the housekeeper had made it that way. When I asked where his family member was, he said she was off working. She was also a housekeeper. This confused me slightly, but he explained it was part of the culture in Colombia ‒ everyone had a housekeeper, even the housekeepers to continue the circle of the economy. It was genius. At that moment I shed my pride about ‘keeping my household’ and instead focused on what I could afford in terms of continuing the circle of economy and making an effort to make that circular economy one of women. Look at how your household is run and if there are ways in which you can seek to create a circular economy of women to support it. It can be as simple as ordering take-away from a restaurant run by a woman, or you can look to reevaluate how the time is spent keeping up the household and how you can redistribute this unpaid work.

5. Active listening


Our ingrained, unconscious bias can shut down our listening when a woman uses her voice. That is of course if a woman is even included to use her voice. As the recent report by McKinsey states that for years few women have risen through the ranks because of the “broken rung” at the first step up to management. This month if you can interact with women, try catching yourself before you tune out and tune into genuinely listening to what they are saying. You do not have to agree, idolize or even comment on what is said. As I have learned from interviewing dozens of people on camera, listening is powerful and most people just want to be heard. If you don’t have the opportunity to interact with women in person this month but have an interest in listening to ways to support women, sign up for some of the virtual sessions offered at the United Nations Current Status of Women Conference. You may learn something new that can support someone in your life or change your perspective on an issue.


According to the International Labour Organization, at the current rate, it is going to take 257 years to close the gender pay gap but there is a lot we can all do in an individual and collective effort to speed up that rate. This is not only a day for women to eat pizza or abandon their work desks as dreamy as it sounds, it is a day for us all to work towards a better, more equal world. Why not try and see what you can do for just one day? And then see if you can carry that intention on for the next day and the next…


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Lauren Anders Brown, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lauren Anders Brown is an award-winning documentary storyteller who uses film, photography, audio, and her writing to focus on issues of global health and human rights. She has captured content in over forty countries, including conflict zones, in order to amplify the voices of others and especially women. She produces work through her own production company colLABorate: ideas and images, works as a consultant for the United Nations, and is Creative Director of the e-learning startup Gamoteca. She is a true artivist: an artist who uses any and all of her available platforms to creatively advocate for human rights.

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