International Women’s Day(IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Starting in 1911, the occasion sees participants adopt the colour purple to symbolise power, independence and magic. While it is a day to celebrate and acknowledge women both past and present, it is also a day marking a call to action in accelerating gender equality.
To quote the renowned feminist Gloria Steinem: “The story of Women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
This year’s theme, #EachforEqual, highlights 'Collective Individualism’ and the fact that we all have a responsibility to encourage others to challenge stereotypes, act against bias and broaden perceptions. Each one of us has a duty to help create a gender equal world.
Some of team Concirrus striking the #EachforEqual pose
As yesterday was IWD, here are some of the ways Concirrus marked the occasion...
Solace Women’s Aid
We rallied donations for Solace Women’s Aid, a London based charity who have been supporting women and children who face abuse and violence for more than 40 years. Their mission is as follows:
“Solace work to prevent violence and abuse as well as providing services to meet the needs of survivors, particularly women and girls. Our work is holistic and empowering, working alongside survivors to achieve independent lives free from abuse.”
They provide many services, including advice and support, accommodation, therapeutic services, rape crisis, training and much more.
We have been collecting donations for Solace all week, a huge thank you to the team for being so generous!
Concirrus’ Women in Tech Talk
Concirrus’ women in tech came together with an IWD FedTalk, with each presenting the most inspirational women in their lives!
So, who inspires us?
“My mum is truly one of a kind and my inspiration in life. Over the years she has held many different roles, including hairdresser, beauty therapist and NHS support worker to name a few, but in her late 40’s she decided to chase her dream of becoming a counsellor. Throughout her study she had a full-time job and was a part time carer for my nan who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's and mental health issues. She also had to overcome her own personal obstacles. Even though it took 4 years instead of three she passed with a distinction and now has a thriving private practice! She showed me that no matter what age you are, or what obstacle's you face in life, if you believe in yourself and have determination you can achieve your dreams!”
“My inspiration is my childhood friend Louise King. She has Cystic Fibrosis which is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs. She’s spent a lot of her life both in and out of hospital. Despite this, she is the most incredible person I've ever met! She is constantly working to be the best possible version of herself. She lives life to the full and recently ran a marathon! She is part of the CF Trust who have been campaigning to get Orkambi on the NHS which can significantly help the lung function of CF patients. The NHS announced late last year that these drugs would be available for prescription and she was a major part in helping make that happen. She inspires me daily and is such a good friend, helping everyone around her with their own problems while she’s got so many of her own."
“Kathrine Switzer was the first women to complete the Boston Marathon in 1967 and is a huge inspiration to me as a runner. Women were not allowed to take part in the marathon at the time, yet she managed to sign up unnoticed until she had passed the starting line. She was spotted by some male organisers who tried to attack her and get her to stop running, yet she kept going. Thanks to her many women have now been able to take part in the iconic Marathon. In 2017, at age 70, she ran the Boston Marathon once again, inspiring a new generation.”
“Another woman with power is Sophie Power! She is an ultra-runner and has completed many ultra-marathons in her life. She inspired millions around the world when a photo of her breast feeding her baby went viral. It was taken when she was taking part in the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc which has a total elevation gain of more than 10,000 meters, which is more than climbing Mount Everest. Not only did she complete the marathon but was able to breast feed her child in her ‘breaks’. She is a real inspiration to me and shows how strong women truly are and how you don’t have to forget about your dreams once you have children.”
“While watching the 2016 film ‘Hidden Figures' I learnt about three very inspiring women for the first time. The film follows three African-American women facing discrimination, bias and racism while working at NASA in the 60’s.The film itself reveals the story of how they overcame incredible odds to carve out careers in a male dominated world.” “Mary Jackson had to petition to be allowed to attend a segregated white high school in order to take the college courses to be able to qualify as an engineer. After succeeding, she gained her qualifications and became NASA’s first black female engineer. Throughout her career she committed herself to helping women and minorities progress in the engineering field. “ “Dorothy Vaughan a computer programmer, was the first African-American women to head up a department at NASA and used her position to fight for promotions and pay rises for female colleagues.” “Finally, mathematician Katherine Johnsons calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the first, and subsequent, U.S. crewed spaceflights. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition for her achievements.”
“I would ask everyone to watch or read the book ‘Hidden Figures.’ It showed me that you can overcome anything.”
“My inspiration is my mother who I admire and respect because she lives for her passion. At 15 she went to work at a grocery store and soon realised she loved it. In her 20s she become one of the first females in Finland to own a grocery store. She was a true entrepreneur in a male dominated industry. She worked 7 days a week, only took a week off during the summer and was the main breadwinner in our family which allowed my father to chase his passion. She was very innovative and set up a pick-up and home delivery service for elderly people who couldn’t travel to the shops in the early 90’s. She is a true businesswoman and was my inspiration growing up.”
“Another inspirational woman for me is the famous Finish feminist Minna Canth. In the 1900’s, career opportunities for women in Finland were extremely limited. Most women either become a midwife or got married. She decided at a young age that this was not for her and wanted to be independent. She became a teacher, playwright and writer. In her writing she addressed many political and social issues of the time, such as women's rights and the under privileged, finding ways to improve their lives. She herself was a single mum of seven. In Finland we celebrate her life on the Day of Equality on 19th March every year.”
“When I think of someone who inspires me, I think of Sylvia Earle the marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. I’m passionate about the environment, and she has worked her whole life to protect, and raise the awareness of, the health of oceans. She lead the first all female team to live under water for a week in 1970 and she also set a record for walking the ocean floor untethered, for two hours, at 1,250 feet deep in 1979. At 81, she remains an inspiration to millions of people around the world and now heads Mission Blue, a non-profit she launched in 2009.”
“One of my absolute favourite women in the world is the great Serena Williams She inspires me because of her strength, style and attitude both on and off the court. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, despite facing media controversies, racism, sexism and injuries. She won the 2017 Australian open whilst being two months pregnant. She is a champion through and through from her fashion to embracing motherhood along with her career. She truly embodies what it means to be a strong and empowered woman. “
“I'm really exciting. I smile a lot, I win a lot, and I'm really sexy.” - Serena Williams
“My second inspiration is Melina Mercouri She was a Greek actress, singer and politician. She was an absolute goddess and lived in a time where women were supposed to be ‘ladies,’ however she defied the rules and dared to be different. She was confident, super loud and engaged with all classes, from the humblest to the most powerful. Throughout her career she received an academy award nomination and won a Cannes Film Festival Award for her performance in the 1960’s film ‘Never on Sunday’. Melina was extremely passionate about her country and at the time of the coup d'état in Greece by a group of Greek military colonels on 21 April 1967, she joined the struggle against the Greek Military Junta. She started an international campaign, travelling all over the world raise awareness.”
“I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing women, but I’ve chosen three. The first must be my mum! She has been a single mum for most of her life and has overcome her fair share of challenges. When she was around 50, she came to me with a bucket list of things she wanted to do. So far, she’s achieved her goals of swimming with dolphins, parasailing and she trained as a chef. On her 60th birthday we booked her a sky dive, which she loved and for her 70th she wants to do the longest zip wire in the UK. She’s 68 this year, is still working and is probably more of a socialite than most 20 years olds! I take inspiration from her every single day.
“The second woman I find inspirational is aviation pioneer and author Amelia Earhart. She was the first women to fly the Atlantic and achieved a great deal more than that during her short life. One of her quotes really stuck with me; “Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don't have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”
“Last but in the no means least is Pink. She is such a strong woman who doesn’t stand for any rubbish, fights for what she believes in and doesn’t conform. You don’t want to be in the car with me when I'm playing her songs!”
To round it all off, the Little Cupcake Company provided the team with some amazing IWD themed treats!
Thank you to all the women here at Concirrus for making IWD this year so special!
Concirrus are on the lookout for more talent to join our amazing team so get in touch if you think you would be a great fit. View our current open roles or spread the word with those you know are looking for a new opportunity!