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By Clare Jupp

With the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report findings telling us gender parity is over 200 years away, there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and to keep pushing for progress and change.

While this prediction might seem rather devastating, it sends a strong reminder that there is still a huge way to go with securing gender parity in society.


So, as we mark International Women’s Day today, we are mindful of the fact that this year’s theme is #PressforProgress and that we must continue to push for change.


In the context of the financial services sector, this means committing to and ensuring that women are represented positively at all levels, including in the very highest positions.


International Women’s Day seeks to celebrate women’s achievements, as well as acting as a catalyst for change when it comes to gender equality. It has been observed for over 100 years and is now celebrated around the world.


This annual event celebrates women’s achievements and pushes forward towards gender equality.


The day brings together global governments, women’s organisations, businesses and charities together under the banner of International Women’s Day. The event has been celebrated on March 8th since 1913.



Global movement

The earliest observance of a Woman’s Day was held in New York on February 28, 1909 and was organised by the Socialist Party of America.


A year later, at the International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, Socialist representatives proposed that there be an International Women’s Day, inspired by the demonstration in New York.


The delegates agreed that an international day should be formed as part of a strategy to promote equal rights for women and women’s suffrage.


It was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911.


Two years later, in 1913, it was proposed that the date be moved to March 8 and it has been celebrated on this day ever since.


The original aim of International Women’s Day was to achieve gender equality for women – sadly, this has not yet been realised.


Making it real

So, in 2018, how can the financial services sector #pressforprogress?


Rather timely, it is very encouraging to know that on March 15th a representation of businesses across this sector will join together at a Women in Finance event in London in the hope that we can gain more support for the Women in Finance Charter and, subsequently, greater gender parity within the sector.


It is fantastic that prominent women and, crucially, men will be attending and supporting this event and it has been overwhelming to receive such support for this event which Brightstar and Virgin Money will be hosting together in conjunction with HM Treasury.


Today at Brightstar has been about acknowledging the contributions and achievements of the women in our business, and it has been hugely energising to see everyone joining in with this theme.


An Exhibition of Achievement has been displayed in our reception area to focus upon the outstanding contributions and achievements of our women.


This builds upon our recent Women in Finance workshop where colleagues shared career journeys and aspirations as well as focusing on the development of skills such as self-confidence and assertiveness.