Happy International Women’s Day! When did this day start? 1909. It was a celebration by The Socialist Party of America – they were honouring the female garment workers who were striking due to unequal and poor working conditions. You go sisters! The word spread quickly. By 1911, a million men and women were rallying, demanding equal rights for women (whether this be for voting, working, etc.) and by 1945 the first international agreement was signed by the United Nations to declare equal rights amongst the genders.
We’ve progressed A LOT since 1909 but we could supposedly have to wait another 100 years before the equality gap has disappeared. As of 2014, 143 of the world's 195 countries guaranteed to provide equal rights to men and women. However, women are still facing inequality. Should a female in the same job role as a male be paid less? No. But sadly the gender pay gap still exists, even in the UK – standing at 17% in 2018, hence why IWD is still a thing. We’re loving their hashtag #BalanceforBetter. Everyone should believe in a gender-balanced world!
Here at CPRESS, our management team is, well we’ll say “petite”. We have roughly 10 members and 2 of which are female. Grace is our Director of Marketing and Nutritional Therapist. Ciara is our Marketing Assistant. We’ve asked them 4 important questions for today...
1. What does International Women's Day mean to you?
Grace: Women are incredible. I am incredible. We are often the first to adopt change, we support each other, our body's go through horrific amounts, we are the caregivers, the nurturers and on top of all of that we have incredible careers and bring up incredible families. Women just get on and do it, and I love us for it.
Ciara: For me, it’s all about women encouraging other women. We live in a world that tends to revolve around social media these days. This can have such a negative impact on peoples’ self-esteem and is why I’ve begun to unfollow the typical insta models that just whip out their promo codes. Instead, I’ve started to follow more females that are encouraging such as Venetia Falconer. Her account is all about sustainability and pushes me daily to do my part for the planet, making me feeling like a better person. We should feel empowered by the women in our lives and should never feel below men.
2. Which female figure drives you?
Grace: I have two answers to this question. The first is my Mum. She's taught me resilience and perseverance and how to be a problem solver. She always has a solution for whatever I throw at her, and I try to do that in my relationships as well.
The second is my friends; how very Dolly Alderton of me. In all seriousness though I am surrounded by the most incredible group of woke females who share a common love for one another which stretches back to our school days, and in some cases, to when we were just 4 years old. Our shared WhatsApp group is the joy of my life, constantly amusing, constantly challenging and supportive, intelligent, confronting and above all else, real.
Ciara: Rhonda Byrne, author of ‘The Secret’. This book completely changed my life. Rhonda interviewed many teachers around the world that believed in the “law of attraction”. The book teaches you how to have a positive mind set and to believe that you can be whoever you want to be. The film is on Netflix if you fancy giving it a watch! I refer back to her work whenever I’m feeling a little down or demotivated.
3. Have you ever done something to promote equal rights?
Grace: Ermmmm...yeah, I have actually. It wasn't for women's rights but when I lived in Athens I went with my Greek friends to the huge riots in front of the parliament building. The protests were anti-austerity which I think from an outsider's perspective would have been hard to understand. Greece had monumentally f*ucked up financially, spent more than they had, and as a consequence were about to enter a period of enforced austerity. Makes sense right? Logically, yes. But I witnessed first hand all my friends losing their jobs, having their electricity switched off, not having enough money to buy basic provisions. It was a tough and frightening time for them so I went along to support.
Ciara: Back in my college days in Charleston, South Carolina I took part in the organisation of a mass march. A year before I had moved to Charleston, there was a horrific shooting. A 21-year-old, white supremacist had shot 9 African Americans during a church service. Since this was a racist attack, the march was created to fight against racism. It’s scary to think how much discrimination still exists in the world. It shouldn’t matter which race, gender, sexuality, etc. that you identity as, you should feel safe and respected.
4. Are there any assumptions about women that you would like to change? And why?
Grace: Yes. And it's pretty much in line with the assumption that most women would like to change about women: that we are in some way weaker than our male counterparts. A boss of mine once said something along the lines of: "now just before I say this don't have a melt down again", referring to my teary outburst a couple of weeks prior. So what if I cried at work? I am emotional and I am proud of it. At the tender young age of 28 my body has already been through a hell of a lot, more physical and mental pain than is frankly necessary and I am tougher and stronger for it. If I am overly precious of the work I do on a daily basis then I can only see that as a good thing. Women are strong, beautiful and complex and I am damn proud to be one.
Ciara: That we are weak. We may have the occasional melt down when it’s “that time of the month” (which may I add is completely out of our control) but we can be as powerful and successful as any man on the planet and should never be told any different!