Our founder, Frances, on why IWD is (sadly) still so relevant.

This International Women’s Day, the theme “equality today for a sustainable future” feels increasingly poignant as every minute passes. While coronavirus has taken up much of our bandwidth the past two years, equality and sustainability have taken a back seat on the global agenda.

The current situation in Ukraine is expected to compound the vulnerability of women and girls in the areas affected. Heartbreakingly of note is the expectation that 80,000 women will give birth across the war-torn country in the next three months,  without access to medical care. 

Meanwhile on the climate front, the latest IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change) report shows 3.6 billion people are living in a situation where they’re now highly vulnerable to climate change. Half of the world’s population. A population base living primarily in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and small islands. Again, heartbreaking is that while Africa has contributed some of the least greenhouse gas emissions, the continent is already experiencing widespread loss and damage. We know that within these communities, as with Ukraine, in times of economic and environmental adversity, women and girls will be disproportionately affected.

From a business perspective, 2021 saw the lowest percentage of venture capital funding to female founders in the USA since 2016, just 2%. Within that, only 0.27% to Black and Latinx females, grossly disproportionate to the 7% of the population they represent.

While certainly not limited to gender, traditionally feminine qualities such as empathy, vulnerability, self-awareness and willingness to collaborate are needed now more than ever. They’re needed in the boardrooms, the debating chambers and the media. They need to be shown by womxn, and men.

This international women’s day, I will encourage empathy, sensitivity and vulnerability in my husband and sons. Celebrate collaboration, intuition and self-awareness in our (proudly 100% female) Abel team. In the wider world, I will seek to support those who bring these qualities to the fore.

I sincerely hope that in my lifetime, there will be no need for an International Women’s Day, but we’re not there yet (need more facts, this article by TogetherBand talks us through 11 distressing reasons). 

Until we are there, those of us in the privileged position of having a voice, need to be raising it for those less fortunate. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future remains beyond our reach.

 

With hope,
Frances

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