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Taking meaningful action on IWD


A guest blog from Marsha Ramroop, Executive Director Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Building People


In her tome, The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Empowering Women, Professor Linda Scott writes:

If the global community chose to dissolve the economic obstacles facing women, an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity would follow.

International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s History Month – March – are not about posting selfies and sharing hashtags, holding talks and waving flags. It never has been.

The website that has been supporting this kind of performative action for more than a decade and which comes up first when you search “International Women’s Day” is neither endorsed by the United Nations and doesn’t support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The website, which is not transparently run, nor the themes transparently decided, doesn’t support the researched-backed UN Women themes for IWD and doesn’t do work that would result in dissolving any obstacles for women.

UN Women, however, has been choosing themes each year since 1975, which try to bring about gender equity and equality. Note the differences:

  • The website 2021 #ChooseToChallenge vs UN Women 2021 Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID19 world
  • The website 2022 #BreakTheBias vs UN Women 2022 Gender Equality for a sustainable tomorrow
  • The website 2023 #EmbraceEquity vs UN Women 2023 DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality

…immediately you can see the difference between tokenism and meaningful action. Why would the website, which is run by a web portal company, not support meaningful action, or the UN-backed themes? Good question for another day.

This blog is about asking you to take meaningful action, reverting to supporting UN Women’s themes which – if we worked on together – would help dissolve the economic, and other, obstacles facing women globally.

This year’s UN Women theme is DigitALL, Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. There are several strands to the work done by the intersectional-women-led team at Building People, to innovate and use technology to promote equality in the Built Environment Sector.

Of course, we have our networks and our strategic work. Importantly, we also have Building People’s free-to-use platform that aggregates built environment careers activity, enabling underrepresented people to find knowledge, vacancies and events quickly.

Being able to align all the disparate initiatives across all identities and direct that effort and those groups to real opportunities which can then revolutionise the thinking, practice and outcomes of the sector can all live within the exceptional platform we’re trying to develop, but we need the industry’s help.

Meaningful action, dissolving the economic obstacles facing women, to lead to an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity, you, reading this blog now, you can do something about this, today.

Note what Linda Scott says – if we choose to. Choice is our power. Choice is not an illusion. Choice can enable. Our own ability to choose is the reason to be optimistic, because we have without our own hands the power of decision-making, influencing, persuasion, push and pull, the power to create change.

I am going to ask you to make a choice today. DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality can be a lovely set of great words you can read and think: “Yes, I can see how tech can support change”, or you can act by supporting many of the organisations trying to deliver on the gender equality agenda, one of which being Building People.

The benefit of supporting Building People, of course, is that we plough all efforts into the sector you’re working in, we support you to deliver on your EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) goals and, when, as a social enterprise, we’re in the position to make money, we’d pour it into growing the organisation to further develop our work for the sector.

It’s a win for society, for us, and for you. Supporting this kind of collaborative work always results in great outcomes, so this International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s History Month, please avoid virtue signalling.

Instead, make a choice which can dissolve some of the economic barriers facing us, and help bring about peace, prosperity and an equitable Built Environment sector for us all.

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