I couldn’t think of a better theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. #BeBoldForChange. Talking about gender parity last year was a good way to get the conversation going and educating ourselves about the current landscape women face within the workplace, however 2017 is all about action and there’s plenty we all can do.

According to the World Economic Forum, it would take roughly 117 years for gender parity, which is absolutely ludicrous. However the vastness of the #BeBoldForChange theme allows us to take steps and actions that will have a big impact for women.

There are a number of ways to get involved today and beyond according to the official website.

You can:

  • Pledge to challenge bias and inequality
  • Campaign against violence
  • Forge women’s advancement
  • Celebrate women’s success and achievements
  • Champion women’s education

All are incredibly important and you can read more about how you can support these areas on the International Women’s Day website.

What I’ve pledged

I’ve pledged to celebrate women’s success more after noticing that we don’t often shout about their work and efforts enough. No one has ever lost anything by celebrating another person’s success and you never know how far one compliment or acknowledgement can go. In fact, you stand to gain so much just by typing or saying a couple of kind words.

The recent untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson in Hidden Figures came at such a good time and if anything, reinforces the need to acknowledge the work people are doing all around us. The film alone embodies several of the #BeBoldForChange areas.

I instantly think of the bloggers who I’ve become good friends with when I think about supporting women’s achievements and success. There’s always this idea that within the blogosphere it’s everyone for themselves and other bloggers are regarded as competition.

So you can imagine people’s shock when I gush about the girls I’ve met and connected with. Our collective relationship has evolved from acquaintances working on a project together, to ranting about the tumultuous turns life hands you and sharing our hopes, dreams and achievements, knowing that there will be no judgement and complete support.

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be among likeminded girls who are just down right cool, with ambitions and opinions that give you perspective. They’re a breath of fresh air and frankly, I don’t know what my blogging journey would be like without them.

Girls have long been pitted against one another and society laps it up. We very rarely read about men in competition with other men, but a rumored female cat-fight gets everyone talking.

You only have to look at Hollywood to get a sense of this; Angelina Jolie-Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift-Katy Perry being prime examples.

Changing the dialogue

Pitting women against one another over things that aren’t even an issue distracts from actual struggles and challenges we as a collective face. The wage gap, discrimination in male-dominated industries and in some cases, the belief that women should be brought up to maintain a home, are all issues that should garner more attention than non-substantiated feuds.

However women have started to find strength in numbers. They don’t adhere to this belief that every other female is competition and find ways to connect. This could be through work, a mutual interest or simply helping each other out.

As a bolde.com article nicely puts it:

‘When you see another woman as an ally, not a competitor, you both win. Work together and see how much farther you go. At the end of the day, there’s more than enough room for everyone to succeed.’

I’ve seen men actually roll their eyes when I’ve complimented other women. They declared that it was ‘typical’ that I would be supportive of women. It truly perplexed me why they would view solidarity as a negative thing.

Perhaps men are uncomfortable with power in numbers given their instinctive competitive nature. Perhaps they feel that standing side by side is a form of weakness and failure compared to standing superior to others. Whatever the reason is, it just seems that the patriarchal society we live in is actually just as damaging to men as it is to women if they view every interaction and every achievement as a competition.

Nevertheless this won’t stop me from standing united with other women, supporting them and championing their growth. We’re stronger together. We know it. Cynics know it. So throw caution to the wind and be the bold change you want to see.