What can you do for International Women’s Day ? #IWD2018

International Women’s Day #IWD2018 is a day when ordinarily I am frustrated and angry because there is so much to change and so little that I feel I can do to really make a difference.   Sexism, misogyny and inequality are so engrained in our society that they are normal and go unnoticed. 

In the last year, we have called out sexual abuse and harassment – it turns out that everyone has a #MeToo story to share.  In the last year, Carrie Gracie, the China Editor for the BBC, resigned from her post thereby making a clear statement about pay discrimination over gender for the BBC’s international editors.  In the last year, Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister announced that she was pregnant and is now a torchbearer not just for women in New Zealand but women globally. 

…but despite these huge leaps forward, the World Economic Forum recently reported that we are heading backwards on gender equality.  Women are excluded from positions of power and decision making, money is being withdrawn from vital support services for women, the gender pay gap is still massive in some industries.    

This year, I am making a commitment to do something, however small, about the little things that have affected me over the last year. 

On this International Women’s Day, #IWD2018 I think we should all make some commitments, however small, to fight for women and for gender equality. 

No single act will change the world, but a million small acts will start to make a difference. 


I have:

Set up a monthly donation to Women’s Aid

I have read many articles, watched a number of documentaries and heard many stories about domestic violence and abuse over the last year.   Every single story has stuck with me.  What really struck me was how often victims of domestic abuse do not realise that they are suffering from domestic abuse.  It is so true that toxic and controlling relationships creep up on you.  The Prince Charming fairy-tale can very quickly turn into a dark and frightening place.  I think that the support that Women’s Aid offer is brilliant –  there is just not enough of it. 

If you would like to join me in making a donation to Women’s Aid, you will find the link here.

I am making a commitment to:

Do more to champion and sponsor more junior women in my work place.

I now hold quite a senior position in my organisation.  Not mega-senior, I don’t run the place or anything, our organisation is about 4000 strong and I am in the top 250 or so.  I am a leader and I have influence.  I don’t think I am doing enough to use that influence to champion and sponsor more junior women.

During the first five years or so of my career, I regularly used to receive feedback that I was quiet and lacked confidence.  “Being more confident” was an uphill struggle.  I would say things in meetings and I felt that my words would drift into the air only to then be repeated by a man when they would land and have a real impact.  I will always be a woman and will always have to fight twice as hard as my male colleagues, but now that I am more senior my words do have an impact. 

Championing and sponsoring more junior women in the workplace means three things for me:

I am going to interrupt those who interrupt junior women. 

Women are interrupted more frequently than men.  Women are cut off mid-sentence.  When I am chairing meetings, I am going to make a point of interrupting the interruptors.  “Lola was speaking.  Let her make her point first”. 

I am going to repeat, and give credit for, the good points that junior women make.

I often chair meetings.  I am going to make a conscious effort to ensure that women’s voices are heard in my meetings and that women get an equal amount of air time.  When a woman makes a point that I don’t feel has landed in the way it deserves to, I am going to repeat that point, giving credit to the junior colleague.  “Lianne made a really valuable point earlier…”

I am going to mentor more junior women

So often I see women self-sensor and not apply for roles that they are more than capable of.  I see women applying for easier, less-challenging roles when they return from maternity leave and then feeling unchallenged and dissatisfied in their roles.   I see women fail interviews on return from maternity leave when I know that they would be brilliant at the job, their heads were just not in the right place to perform at interview. 

I am making a commitment to become a mentor, to become a sponsor, to coach women in interview techniques, to brag about their achievements on their behalf and to create the environment in which everyone and they believe that they can and will do a brilliant job. 

What are you going to do for International Women’s Day #IWD2018 ? 


Mission Mindfulness


  1. March 8, 2018 / 8:51 am

    Loved this post! Great to see a proactive stance rather than just words #coolmumclub

    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2018 / 9:07 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

  2. March 8, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    I love this Pen. In my role in my previous career I witnessed some pretty shocking treatment of senior female members of staff by their male peers, let alone junior women staff members. Good for you for taking this IWD phenomenon and turning into actual tangible actions to make a difference. You’ve got me thinking about what I could do too…

    Thanks so much for linking to #coolmumclub, and thank you for inspiring me on this, IWD 2018 x
    MMT recently posted…#CoolMumClub Linky week 94My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 10, 2018 / 10:28 pm

      thank you. Pen x

  3. missionpresident
    March 12, 2018 / 8:49 pm

    Maternity Leave Image Photo Credit: Pinterest When you are preparing to go back to work after maternity leave, the first thing to reconcile is that there are some things you can prepare for and other things you can’t prepare for, you just need to work through when they come up. The best thing to do is read what other new moms had to say about their challenges and struggles returning to work after maternity leave and do what you can to prepare yourself for the next step in your journey through motherhood.

    • thesingleswan
      March 13, 2018 / 10:08 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

  4. March 13, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    Yes to championing females in more junior roles – I was (and still am sometimes) one of those who’s words don’t always ‘land’ until picked up and repeated by a male or a more senior female than myself. #thesatsesh
    Hayley @ Mission: Mindfulness recently posted…The Saturday Sesh #26My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 13, 2018 / 10:07 pm

      Great Hayley. I am glad you have found a sponsor. I have had them and we all need them. I just think we have a duty to do the same for others. Pen x

  5. March 13, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    #thesatsesh ooooh ok. This has given me food for thought. I mentor pupils, but I’ve never thought about colleagues. I love the idea of taking action and i believe you are right about small actions creating large ripples. I am going to think about this and get back to you with a long list on champion idea. Seriously, I’ve left this post feeling inspired.
    fridgesays recently posted…Ssshhh I’m hiding from negative peopleMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 13, 2018 / 10:06 pm

      Great! Thank you. I have chaired a few meetings since I wrote this post, unfortunately, I have found that every other attendee has been a man. It turns out that it is not always that easy to sponsor women in the workplace! Pen x

  6. March 14, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    It’s lovely to read that you are doing really well career wise and you are going to put these actions in place in the workplace. I feel that you may have just introduced us to several blog posts on how we can perform at interview on returning to work and more. #CoolMumClub
    Helena recently posted…How to Create a Spring WreathMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 14, 2018 / 9:09 pm

      Thank you. I hadn’t really thought about blogging about interview tips for mum’s returning to work post mat leave. I will have a ponder. Pen x

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