Just for a moment, we’re taking a small departure from valuable digital content. Of course, we’re writing about International Women’s Day onsite for International Women’s Day; that’s no digital accident… Nonetheless, this is our contribution, our statement, to a day that is more nuanced than the myriad LinkedIn and Instagram posts tend to present.
Today, and in the day’s lead up, there are countless posts by individuals, organisations and businesses promoting the women in their workplaces. There are events that feature floral arrangements, cupcakes, even craft beers. There are appreciation shout-outs for hard work women do in the office and at home. It’s all, well, quite lovely actually.
But, it’s also 2022.
International Women’s Day began, in Australia, in 1928. Forged by the Militant Women’s Movement it was a fierce march demanding equal pay for equal work, paid leave and an eight hour work day for ‘shop girls’. First in Sydney, then through Brisbane and Melbourne, it became an annual event from 1931.
The women at Zimple were born through the 1980s and 1990s. 50-odd years after IWD’s inception in our country. We have between 22 and 40 years of lived experience being a woman in Australia. It feels like too long a time for this to be such a familiar and current sentiment, albeit iterated.
Yes, we hear you, guy in the corner with your hand up. Women get to vote now, legally can’t be discriminated against via pay packet or otherwise, and are certainly better positioned in society than our ancestors (ansisters, even). But, can we all agree that continuing to wade through change, such simple change at this stage, is not good enough? Why might we be so grateful to vote that we can’t say, “Hey, how are we still fighting for anything pertaining to equal standing of our male counterparts?”
We aren’t here to complain. The women in our team have extremely varied life stories in cultural backgrounds, socio-economic upbringings, physical and mental health histories and current circumstances. The odometer of privilege moves slightly depending on the subject.
We work in a company that, for all of us, is the most genuinely gender-equitable workplace we have experienced. We are not grateful, though. In 2022, Zimple simply met the bar we should expect.
This is the lens we view International Women’s Day through this year.
Our country still sees a gender pay gap of 22.8% ($25.28k less than men, despite an almost even split in gender representation in the workforce).
Women make up almost two-thirds of law graduate roles (general counsel is one of the country’s highest paid professions), yet only 16% of women are represented in equity partnerships.
While domestic violence against men is largely unreported, and male-on-male violence continues to lead violent death statistics, one woman is killed every week from a previous or current male partner. Over 90% greater instances than a male from a previous or current female partner.
Women are still judged on what they’re wearing in the instance of assault.
We are also experiencing IWD through a privileged lens. The reported death rates of women rarely, if ever, include Indigenous women. Rarely, if ever, include trans women. If we are frustrated that the judicial system focuses on what women are doing wrong, and that it's women who are to take responsibility solely for their social safety and status, their plight for fair pay, then we can only imagine what it's like for the further silenced.
With that, and all that is going on in the world right now currently taking up real estate in our minds, hearts and mental health, is that we make more small but deliberate decisions in our interactions, choices and against natural bias.
Our experience sees women being dismissed at the table. We see typically ‘masculine’ traits garner some praise and respect, but our typically ‘feminine’ traits (or, perceived potential responses) being condensed to weakness.
We may decide to have cupcakes (pink ones even), because we do really like cake. We may decide to put a spotlight on the incredible work the women of Zimple do, and the amazing female business owners we are thrilled to have as clients. We may even decide to have a craft beer or two. But, when we all sat down to talk about what the day really means to us (what we really want, what we see in our industry and lives) we each drew on nuanced, everyday things that truly charge change.
For men and women, we only ask this: when you see a natural bias skew you towards downgrading the integrity of a woman in front of you, take pause. Reconsider your assumptions on talent, or gumption, based on gender (or, anything other than who the person in front of you is, as an individual).
Don’t speak over us. Speak up when someone does.
Don’t make unwarranted suggestive remarks. Ever. But especially in our professional spaces.
Don’t go over our heads.
DO see that these statistics aren’t annoying complaints. They are data (and we LOVE data).
DO see that everyone, including us, can always do better. It is a group effort.
Only in these moments, and changing course, might we see a macro change with micro actions. We also ask that it linger longer than one day.
We are not grateful for the incredible workplace we have, nor our equally incredible clients. We are expectant of equal treatment, as all women should be.
Break the bias.
Our last note is to solidify the ‘every day’ of International Women’s Day, with our favourite charities who dedicate themselves to the every day and whom we can help support all year round.