Women Celebrating Women - International Women's Day - 8th March 2011

By Elizabeth Ferguson

On 8th March, Crelos, like many organisations across the UK and globally, will be running an event to commemorate the centenary year of International Women’s Day. The first International Women’s Day was held in some European countries in 1911, at a time when the women’s movement in the UK was gaining momentum. Today, International Women’s Day is celebrated across the globe and is a national holiday in some countries.

The purpose of the day is to celebrate and commemorate the political, economic and social achievements of woman, past, present and future. It is a time to take stock of the great achievements made by women over the last 100 hundred years, to assess where there are still issues and make plans for the future.

As an organisational development and change consultancy, we at Crelos have a particular view to looking at the day. We will be celebrating by running an event titled “Never achieve alone - A celebration of women helping women”, with the aim of discussing and learning from some of the biggest change challenges for women.

Undoubtedly women have achieved much in the UK and beyond over the last 100 years. The obvious thing that springs to mind is the vote, first granted to women over 30 in 1918, following their amazing contribution to the war effort. Now, as modern women, we take our right to vote on parity with men as a “given”.

Margaret Thatcher was the first British, female Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Queen Elizabeth II will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee next year. In the business world, there are examples of women establishing and growing successful, well-known organisations, including Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, Jane Dyson, co-founder of The Network (sold to Menzies Distribution in 2008) and Rosaleen Blair, founder CEO of Alexander Mann Solutions.

However, although much has been achieved, women are on average still paid less than men for an equal role, there are still few women on the leadership teams and Boards of large organisations and within some industries women are still struggling with the much debated “glass ceiling”. In the past, we have often looked upon men and the male orientated cultures of some organisations as the reasons why women are not achieving their potential and are not equally represented at a senior level. However, rather than blaming “the competition” maybe we should be looking internally at ourselves and at other successful women and asking the question, “Are we doing enough to support and develop the next generation of successful women?”

At Crelos we aim to inform, innovate and engage. At our event on 8th March we will hear from women who have achieved great things or who are trying to make a difference for women, either in business or in other aspects of life. How have they brought a uniquely female perspective to their change challenges? How have they achieved where other women have not? How have they been supported by and supported women throughout their journey?

If you would like to get involved, either as a contributor or an attendee, please contact Charlotte.Sampson@crelos.com