It would surprise many people to know that not a single country in the world has 100% gender equal laws. And that only 7% of world leaders are women. The impacts of who is in charge around here are far reaching and yet it is something we can all have a say in.
Looking forward, IWD celebrates women's achievements in order to create pathways for more women. Looking backward, IWD is what we want to move away from - bias and inequality. The day seeks to raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
Whatever you do, whoever you are, there are hundreds of ways you can support International Women's Day and a good place to start, if you are looking for direction, is the official website. Hashtags this year are #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021 - use them widely on social media.
Each year, we support the WE Empower Challenge which is declared open today. The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a global competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Five finalists will be selected from the different regions of the world to participate in a series of tailored trainings, high-level events, and networking opportunities surrounding the 76th UN General Assembly (in-person in September 2021 or a virtual program from August through October 2021).
We support the challenge because it is backed by some of the most influential women leaders in the world and yet it is accessible to all women entrepreneurs. It is a platform to take local ideas to global scale - whether through the entrepreneurs themselves or simply by inspiring others.
Importantly, the program supports leadership, economic contribution and the elimination of gender based violence and opportunism.
Women business owners have a multiplier impact on their staff, their customers and their broader communities. Global initiatives such as the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law project - who's latest report was out this week, support and guide women business owners to help advance gender equality.
And we have two fine examples locally in the leadership and the impact of influence on workplaces and countries with the Australian and New Zealand governments. Leadership has nothing to do with political colours. It's about inclusion, reflecting society and creating prosperity for all.
Research from McKinsey demonstrates as much as $12 – $28 Trillion could be added to the global economy by 2025 if all countries bridged the gender gap. Women entrepreneurs play a critical role in global wealth creation.
Violence against women and girls affects one in three girls and women worldwide, undermining both dignity and potential and inflicting huge costs – including economic cost. The economic cost of violence against women and girls underscores the dire need for commitment and action from all sectors, including the private sector. A 2015 study found that domestic violence against women and children costs the global economy $8 trillion.
Israeli marine biologist Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, head of Tel Aviv-based ECOncrete, was selected as an awardee in the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge in 2018. ECOncrete’s environmentally sensitive concrete products enhance marine life while increasing the structural stability, longevity and aesthetics of urban waterfronts and coastal structures. The technology features a modified concrete “recipe,” a variegated texture attractive to marine life, and a 3D design to accommodate elements such as tiny holes for little fish to hide in.
Leah Lizarondo was selected as an awardee in the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge in 2019. She is the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, a food recovery organization that uses technology to link retailers with excess food to distribution volunteers, preventing un-sellable but perfectly good food from going to waste. Leah engages thousands of everyday citizens who volunteer on the app to collect and deliver small amounts of food in the fight to end hunger and reduce the environmental damage caused by food waste.
Alison Price was selected as an awardee in the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge in 2020. Alison's family business, SoilCyclers, screen, ameliorate, remediate and compost soil in mines, landfill and construction sites. SoilCyclers make onsite recycling ‘business as usual’ by providing innovative, cost-effective, planet-saving solutions to reduce the use of virgin resources, avoid the risk of importing contamination to sites and transform onsite waste into reusable materials.