International Women’s Day

Posted 10th March 2022
By Leona Barr-Jones

As a woman-owned business, at Focus7, we love to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) every year on 8 March.  It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.  We are so proud of all the amazing and inspirational women that we work with in Focus7, our team, our partners and those who we collaborate with as customers and suppliers.  We believe that we collectively make a huge difference and make a conscious effort to always support and champion women in business and that is certainly something to celebrate.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. And yet we are still having some of the same conversations, 111 years on.

The Global Gender Gap Report Index benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps among four key dimensions:

  • Economic Participation and Opportunity

  • Educational Attainment

  • Health and Survival

  • Political Empowerment

The index tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time.  The 2021 index rankings shows that the UK has dropped 2 places and is now 23rd in the World.  As you would expect the Nordic countries dominate the top five places with New Zealand rightfully joining them in fourth place.  But it is the countries in between the UK and them that are interesting, with African, Eastern European and South American countries performing better than the UK.

When you analyse the details of the UK’s Gender Gap score card, we score well in Health and Survival and in Educational Attainment, but could do much better in Economic Participation and Opportunity and Political Empowerment. It makes for sombre reading, and this is why, 7 years ago Vida, our CEO, and myself joined Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer as life founder members of the Women’s Equality Party.  

The Women’s Equality (WE) Party is a collaborative force in British politics uniting people of all genders, ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and experiences in the shared determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men – so that all can flourish and its Mission is:

  • WE are pushing for equal representation in politics, business, industry and throughout working life. 

  • WE are pressing for equal pay and an equal opportunity to thrive. 

  • WE are campaigning for equal parenting and caregiving and shared responsibilities at home to give everyone equal opportunities both in family life and in the workplace. 

  • WE urge an education system that creates opportunities for all children and an understanding of why this matters. 

  • WE strive for equal treatment of women by and in the media. 

  • WE seek an end to violence against women. 

  • WE will pursue equal healthcare.

Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue. When women fulfil their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.

COO at Focus7

A successful business owner by age twenty, and with a varied 21-year military career including five years at the MoD on Whitehall, Leona has developed first class leadership and management skills. She has managed the successful implementation of major change programmes both in the UK and worldwide, including on behalf of Transport for London in collaboration with the 2012 Olympics. Leona is also IoD Director of the Year and a Fellow of IoD, CMI, InstLM.

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