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Is there still need for International Women’s Day, or just a different perspective?

With the objective of valuing women and men's contributions equally it’s got to lead to a better harmony.

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Nigel Phan

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It sounds like the kind of topic you’d debate for some marvellously intellectual thesis. But it will undoubtedly be the kind of question debated viciously in the Twittersphere and justified in the mainstream media this week.  Debate is good, personal attacks are not, of course.

As a woman I naturally have my own personal views on the need for ‘female only’ movements, which is partly why I give time to the leading UK charity for girls and young women: GirlGuiding. My involvement though isn’t solely altruistic, driven by a passion to change the world for females. Instead it’s by a desire to create reasons for my teenage daughters to spend time in their embarrassing mother’s company and create good experiences for them. It just happens to mean that it’s in the presence of their friends, old and new, and I’ve had to do a few new qualifications.

I’m not sure, but this could be a bizarre case of ‘taking your work home with you’ as I think it highlights two interesting things we are forever trying to nail:

  1. motivation for doing something: mine and 
  2. curating memorable occasions for others: my daughters

Unconsciously I’ve been trying to do the very thing the marketing and behavioural economics press regularly debates: understanding the motivations and characteristics of customers that enable brands to perform personalisation that will be meaningful enough to delight and prompt them to come back for more.  

Could this element, ‘personalisation’, although not a fancy algorithm, be the key to overcoming some of the aspect highlighted by events like IWD? There are lots of articles detailing the need for International Women’s DayThe gender pay gap, lack of women at the top etc., things undoubtedly differ between the genders.

It may be a big leap to think ‘personalisation’ could possibly overcome the problems of the issues that underpin the aspects identified, but looking at things as a personality point of view rather than a gender point of view with individuals using emotional intelligence to deal with the situations they impact we might go some way to moving in the right direction: treat people based on personality not on gender. By its very nature this needs to happened on an individual basis but significant change can only happen if all the little bits pull together in the same direction. 

So back to my question, do we need International Women’s Day?  Well, if you don’t know if you have an unconscious bias, how can it be challenged? How can you challenge it if you don’t understand what the phrase means? How can you work out what it should be without guidance? You are only going to learn about that kind of thing if the conversation is on mass, highlighted by a formidable campaign.  So I think yes it is needed, #BeBoldForChange on the 8th of March 2017 and thereafter.

With the objective of valuing women and men’s contributions equally it’s got to lead to a better harmony.

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