Happy March, and Happy Women's History Month – a time when across the globe, governments, women’s groups, corporations, academic institutions, networks, media hubs and non-profits celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. International Women’s Day (IWD) will be celebrated on March 8, and this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. “Equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. Attention to gender equity needs to be part of every society's DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.” The day will focus on engaging dialogue around why equal opportunities for women aren’t enough as well as how true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. To learn more about 2023’s IWD and how we, as women, have finally met a long-awaited goal in the business world, read on.
Here are some interesting facts about women, with an emphasis on business, for 2023:
- Only 12 countries in the world grant women equal rights, and surprisingly, the U.S. isn’t one of them.
- 42% of all U.S. businesses are owned by women (13 million).
- Women-owned businesses employ over 9.4 million workers.
- Women are three percentage points more likely to start a business than men.
As of January 1, 2023, five new women helmed Fortune 500 companies, bringing the total number of female CEOs to 53. Which means, for the first time in Fortune 500 list's 68-year history — after years of being stuck at the 8% mark — over 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
It’s fair to ask whether it’s worth celebrating only a 2% difference, especially when it still very clear how far we still have to go for equal representation. It may not be a leap, but this is an important step forward. Each threshold we cross and each barrier we break brings us closer to parity. So, before we literally (and figuratively) get back to work, let's take a moment to recognize how far we've come by celebrating some of the history-making women who brought us over the 10% line.
A women’s presence top of a company can improve how companies think about women; researchers found that having women in executive positions can challenge gender stereotypes about leadership — without sacrificing their likability. Women are also more likely than men to hire women, and studies have shown that women-lead companies create a healthier workplace culture (for both women and men – women’s achievements are more likely to be recognized and promoted.
As a small woman-owned business, facts like these hit straight to the heart of Everviolet. Alongside efforts to invigorate our growth, we simultaneously support other like-minded businesses and exhort more female entrepreneurs and leaders – more is definitely more in this arena! We believe in nurturing individual women, empowering our sisters to embody the courage, confidence and skillsets required to step out on their own in business or any other endeavor. And we also believe in fostering relationships with women-run businesses – educating ourselves and our community to become more aware of our shopping dollars and choosing to fuel female-founded ventures.
Led by the Suffragettes, the first IWD was held in 1911, with the intent to collaborate and lead purposeful action to redress inequality in the hopes of a better future for communities, families and individuals. The UN celebrated it for the first time in 1975 and in 1996 it announced its first annual theme: "Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future." To this day, it remains a powerful platform that globally unites and mobilizes nations around gender parity.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2022, the gender gap is narrowing, but equality is still 132 years away. Iceland leads the world with economic opportunity for women. Our stance is that if we persist and continue to highlight injustices, all the while celebrating milestones already achieved by women thus far (including those of our fellow business mavens), we will overcome disparities and create a new herstory defined by equality, opportunity and celebration.
How can you take part in IWD?
If you’re looking for ways to take action or get involved with International Women’s Day, here are a few suggestions:
- Strike the IWD #EmbraceEquity pose – Show the world your huge embrace on social media! Just make sure to include #IWD2023 #EmbraceEquity with your image to encourage others to help forge an inclusive world.
- Participate in a local event – Look into what’s happening in your neighborhood (i.e. conferences, events, marches, talks and/or rallies) and see how you can take part.
- Host your own women’s gathering – Keep it intimate and host a women’s gathering at your home. Create an event where a leader/advocate of gender parity shares her personal experience to inspire and engage other women.
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” - Maya Angelou