Today is IWD 2022, International Women’s Day. It is a day dedicated to advocating for a more equal world. A world without bias, stereotyping, or discrimination, as well as one that is diverse, equal, and inclusive, is described as such. UN Women, the United Nations agency dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, announced the theme for IWD 2022 as “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” in December 2021. Across all sectors, this theme highlights the role of women and girls in creating a more sustainable future for everybody. The first IWD gathering was held in 1911, since then, a lot has happened globally around women’s rights.
Today, most women have the right to attend school, vote, drive, own property, run for political office, choose their marriage partner, get a mortgage without a man’s approval, work in any career of their choice, and, most importantly, own and run businesses. As I focused on this year’s www.internationalwomensday.com campaign theme #BreakTheBias, I thought of the numerous women in business and the workplace. Are there any particular difficulties they confront as a result of their gender? Is it still difficult to be a woman in business and at work? What biases must we overcome? Are we, for example, paying men more than women in similar positions? Are we celebrating women in any way? Are we celebrating women in business enough? Are we celebrating the small gains that women have made in steering our economies forward?
In business, women play an important role. It is crucial to celebrate them at every opportunity. Many women support their families by starting small businesses. Women are expansively involved in the food value chain as small traders. They trade in food items, mainly vegetables, fruits, and cereals. One only needs to visit a food marketplace to witness these women at work. Women have also ventured into the service industry. Women own and operate a large number of private schools, beauty shops, and roadside food stands. There are a few female proprietors in the transportation industry, as well as a small number of female drivers and conductors. Based on my own experience, I believe that women taxi drivers account for less than 5% of all taxi drivers. Let us celebrate when a woman comes to pick us up. Women appear to be lagging behind their male counterparts in manufacturing. If you know a woman in manufacturing, please celebrate her today. Such women are rare to find. We need to celebrate businesswomen. Supporting women-led and women-owned businesses is one way to celebrate women in business.
I’m curious as to how many organizations will be celebrating their female employees today. Women are no longer merely secretaries; they are now in charge of entire departments and companies. In the workplace, they are making a huge difference as leaders. Women’s roles have changed dramatically. Women must take the initiative in recognizing and thanking other women in the workplace, we should not wait for the men to celebrate us. Women have the potential to be each other’s cheerleaders. Let us celebrate each other. This will make women more visible in the workplace and business. We must express our gratitude and respect for the efforts made by women. Many people continue to be inspired by the work done by women.
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy