International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
It is celebrated annually on March 8 and is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. Across Shoosmiths there were a number of activities to raise awareness and celebrate the day. These included:
Our Nottingham office organised a coffee morning for its local charity partner Nottingham Women’s Centre raising £200. The charity is run by women for women and aims to help all women gain the confidence and skills to achieve their potential and become stronger and more independent. It provides a safe and protective environment in which women can do this.
In our Thames Valley office a LeanIn session consisted of a quiz and coffee morning. There was an introduction to International Women’s Day followed by a quiz based on women’s history. There was also reference to the work of the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary project and one of its programmes to provide menstrual products to those who cannot afford them in and around London, particularly asylum seekers and refugees.
In Northampton the LeanIn Committee organised an open event where colleagues could meet the committee and suggest ideas for events they would like to see in the office. And what better way to share ideas than eating cake at the same time as watching a TED talk by Sheryl Sandberg.
Birmingham’s LeanIn celebrations with coffee and cake used A Loose Women style panel discussion to explore a variety of equality issues. The event included raffling slices of a stunning cake designed to commemorate 100 years since women first won the right to vote.
In London the day was celebrated with cupcakes and a quiz. There was also an opportunity for colleagues to note down any issues relating to diversity in the workplace that they would like to be discussed.
The Solent LeanIn group hosted an informal lunch starting with an inspirational video from the International Women’s Day website, showcasing and commemorating numerous female inventors for their contributions to society. It then had a lively discussion about sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace as well as gender equality issues.
On 9 March 2018 a number of colleagues across the firm attended the Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. The festival celebrates the power and potential of girls and women and the obstacles that many women have had to overcome to get to where they are. Two of the attendees were Thames Valley colleagues Abigail Gisbourne and Molly Cullen who both attended talks by female MPs, prominent female figures in business and women who had suffered from living in ‘shame’. Molly commented: ‘The event was both inspiring and empowering for all that attended and provided Abi and me much food for thought for upcoming LeanIn events.’
Sarah Winship , Shoosmiths’ Diversity and Inclusion Manager added ‘It is important that we support International Women’s Day because, as well as celebrating achievements, it provides a platform for us to discuss ongoing challenges. It is wonderful to see our LeanIn network developing and expanding and we would like to see this continue over the next 12 months. The network provides a means to develop staff but also an important mechanism to inform diversity and inclusion strategy, policy and procedures. Gender Equality is a key part of Shoosmiths’ diversity strategy. We were the first law firm to publish gender pay gap data and our work in this area was recognised recently when we were awarded Employer of the Year at the inaugural Women in Credit Awards. We know this work must be ongoing, and our Gender Equality Working Group will continue to drive the agenda, working closely with our LeanIn network.’