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What’s happening on International Women’s Day 2018: the round up

Here’s a round up of some of the activity and campaigns taking place on and around this year’s International Woman’s Day, which takes place today, 8 March.

Press for Progress is this year’s campaign theme, which carries on throughout the year and pushes for gender parity. This year individuals and organisations are asked to send their best #PressforProgress pictures showing their commitment to gender parity to be shared on the IWD website and via social media channels.

Research to read and take part in:

With sexual harassment in the sector firmly on the agenda following the Presidents Club and Oxfam GB Haiti stories, there are at least two surveys currently asking for views and experiences to be shared on the subject, while others have been seeking views on what women need or want:

Is the third sector sexist wants to hear from anyone, of any gender, sexuality or ethnicity, who has experienced or witnessed sexism or sexual harassment in the charity sector. The research will contribute to research by trainees of Charityworks 2017 (http://www.charity-works.co.uk/), and influence a discussion on how to create a culture of confidence and solidarity within the third sector but is separate to the CharityWorks scheme.
Lucy Caldicott is also seeking views on equality, inclusion and solidarity in the voluntary sector in order to assess the value in creating some form of cross-functional, intersectional network to share stories, create a sense of solidarity, and mutual support to make change happen in people’s own organisations and beyond.

Institute of Fundraising’s Steph Siddall has been coordinating the What Women Want 2.0. project, which asked over 8,000 women in the UK what they want and was presented in Parliament yesterday with a host of speakers including Shelter’s Polly Neate, Gingerbread’s Dalia Ben-Galim, and Shami Chakrabarti. The report can be downloaded here. Steph has also written a blog reflecting on how the findings could reflect on what women in fundraising might want, published on the IoF site. The IoF also recently launched an Expert Advisory Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which held its first meeting last month.

To mark International Women’s Day Oxfam Cymru is asking people to help it create a video that will highlight that things that need to change for women in Wales by sending us a short film of themselves answering four questions including What challenges they face as a woman in Wales today and to name the one thing that would make Wales better for women today.


A number of organisations are celebrating inspirational women:


To celebrate International Women’s Day RNIB has put together a list of a few of ‘the most fierce women in literature – both fictional and real’, from Virginia Woolf, to Helen Keller, to Jane Eyre, and Katniss Everdeen – inviting people to read their stories as Talking Books.

Bloodwise is celebrating its Bloodwise-funded female scientists who are paving the way in blood cancer research and working to improve the lives of people with blood cancer.

Fundraising agency Open is sharing stories on Instagram of the women who have inspired Openers to celebrate IWD2018.

63% of GOOD Agency are women and today it is celebrating them on its social media channels and website.

Hospice UK is remembering the founder of the modern hospice movement, Dame Cicely Saunders.

Sightsavers is celebrating the women working to protect sight and fighting for disability rights.

The woman who helped to set up Emmaus is also being remembered this International Women’s Day. Lucie Coutaz worked alongside Abbé Pierre to develop Emmaus in the 1950s in France. In 1991 the charity was brought to the UK and now supports around 780 formerly homeless people by providing them with a home and work. As an active member of the resistance during the Second World War, Lucie later dedicated her life to Emmaus, but while Abbé Pierre became the figurehead of Emmaus, Lucie Coutaz used her skils to grow the movement internationally. The charity now operates in 37 countries on four continents. Abbé Pierre described her as:‘…the one, without whom, nothing would have been possible”.

June Sullivan (L) & Amanda Nevill (R)

Finalists for the Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award have been announced today. The Social Purpose Award celebrates business women championing social purpose beyond their core business case. The finalists are Amanda Nevill CBE, British Film Institute (BFI), and June O’Sullivan MBE, CEO, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF). According to the judging panel, both demonstrated impressive evidence around how they created a strong and positive impact on their core audiences. For June, this is supporting underprivileged children in London by offering options for early years education. Judges noted Amanda’s work pioneering the establishment of the BFI Film Academy which is backed by the Department for Education as a gold standard skills training initiative.
June O’Sullivan said:

“There is a global uprising to radically change in the film and TV world to make it a better, more open comfortable place where women can successfully pursue careers with the same level of ambition and confidence afforded men; the Veuve Clicquot award shortlist offers a moment for me to lend my voice to the many campaigning for change, fast.”


Others are showing solidarity with women who have experienced harassment, violence and pay inequality:


BrewDog has launched Pink IPA ahead of International Women’s Day to draw attention to gender pay equality. The beer is BrewDog’s Punk IPA but repackaged with a pink label, and when bought by someone identifying as female is 20% cheaper than the normal Punk IPA to reflect the 20% pay gap in the UK. In addition, for four weeks, BrewDog is donating 20% of proceeds from Pink IPA and Punk IPA to charities that support women and fight inequality, namely the Women’s Engineering Society and 9to5.
Women for Women UK has launched Message To My Sister: a campaign that invites women to send a few words via the charity’s site to express their solidarity and support for women living in some of the world’s most dangerous places, and to also share their message on social media under #MessageToMySister.

Action Aid has launched its This Body is Mine campaign, asking people to show their support for survivors of violence against women and girls by writing #ThisBodyIsMine on themselves and posting a photo on social media with the hashtags #MyBodyIsMine and #IWD2018.

Funding news:

In her speech on gender equality on 7 March, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt MP announced new funding including a one-off competitive UK Aid Direct funding round of up to £10 million, the Jo Cox Memorial Grants, focusing on two themes close to Jo Cox’s heart: women’s social, economic and political empowerment, and strengthening civil society capacity for early prediction of identity-based violence. More information is on the UK Aid Direct site.
Mordaunt also said the Government was pledging £6million over four years for the UN Women-led flagship programme initiative on gender data, to improve the quality of gender data so the global goals can be effectively monitored. New support through UK Aid Match was also announced to tackle violence against women and girls in Kenya as well as the launch of a new shared approach across the UK Government to gender in Syria.
Earlier in the week, Minister for Women and Equalities Amber Rudd announced a £1.5 million Returners Fund to help tackle the gender pay gap and support people back into work after time out caring. The fund will offer grants to projects that help people to return to work in the private sector, such as those that help returners update their skills, provide other training, or support businesses to increase employment opportunities for returners.

And finally:

This year’s International Women’s Day charity of choice is the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). It has just announced Sarah Nancollas as its new Chief Executive. WAGGGS is the largest volunteer organisation for girls in the world and is the umbrella organisation for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 150 different countries. Nancollas is the former Chief Executive of children’s charity Variety and was also Chief Executive of Canon Collins Trust, a southern African education charity where she introduced a number of activities to specifically empower women and girls.

UNESCO is asking people to join its #wiki4women movement and bridge the gender gap in the digital space. Apparently only 17% of profiles on Wikipedia are of women. It is asking people to spend a few minutes writing Wikipedia profiles of women committed in the fields of education, science, culture, social and human sciences, or communication and information to readdress the balance.