International Women’s Day—it’s been almost a week since the celebrated holiday. In the aftermath of a day where we pay honor and respect to the women that have changed the world, and strive toward more equality, I found myself full of questions.
Why is it that we celebrate women and their success only once a year?
Why is it that we need a holiday to draw attention to it?
Why is it that so many companies across the globe try to prove that they are feminist (which, by the way, is a wonderful thing to be) for one day? Especially when many seem to prove the complete opposite on many of the other days in the calendar year?
If a company is going to raise a façade of supporting equality, they should actually follow it. Not just in theory, but in practice. Hire more women to be leaders in upper management. Raise the pay bar if you haven’t, so a woman’s work elicits the same reward as a man’s.
The truth is, equality is actually more beneficial for a firm than inequality. Equality allows firms to gather top talent by attracting the highly educated body of women that now increasingly dominates college education. In addition to this, equality actually has been shown to reduce employee turnover and help a company perform better. One of the many reasons for this is the variety of perspectives and holistic analysis that women bring to the conference room.
While the United States has many miles to travel down the road to equality, women in countries across the world face discrimination that is further permeated in societal structure. Iran, Morocco and even countries like Great Britain, where there is a strong sense of the "boys' club" have an even steeper uphill battle to combat.
Equality will not happen overnight. It won’t happen in the next five years, or 10, or even 20. We are working toward undoing systematic thinking that has been ingrained in society for thousands of years. The journey will take decades, but it is still important that we take it.
Instead of allowing equality to sit at the forefront of our mind every March 8, let’s take it a step further. Let’s celebrate the women we love and their accomplishments every day. Let’s continue to inspire change and the young women around us to dream, achieve, and conquer. Not just one day a year, but every day.