Every year on 8 March people from across the world are invited to celebrate International Women's Day by discussing, debating and acknowledging some of the pertinent issues that continue to affect gender parity.

2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of (some) women being allowed to vote. International Women's Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made in this specific area but also the achievements of many women and men who have advanced gender equality. 

However, with many issues still effecting women, whether that is the Gender Pay Gap or the low number of women on company boards (just 25% in FTSE 100 companies), now more than ever there is a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. International Women's Day aims to do just that and is about motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

To celebrate this annual event and #PressforProgress, a team from law firm Womble Bond Dickinson's Plymouth office have, for the second year running, helped organise an International Women's Day event in the City.  The firm is once again sponsoring the event this year, joining The Federation of Small Businesses, South West Women in Construction and the Plymouth Construction Training Group as co-sponsors ensuring that attendance is free and open to all.

The event is running from 2pm until 6pm at The Duke of Cornwall Hotel and will feature 6 inspirational female speakers from various backgrounds: 

  • Linda Gilroy (former MP) will be speaking about her 30 year career in politics and of course 100 years of votes for women.
  • Jasmine Kelland (HR lecturer at Plymouth University) will be speaking about the gender pay gap and her study of the perception of male parents in the workplace
  • Hayley and Laura (client and employee of Trevi House) will be speaking about their experiences and expanding on the recent Panorama feature – "Addicted: Last Chance Mums"
  • Rachel Rudd (Rudd's Wellies) will be speaking about her journey as an entrepreneur and having the courage to dream big and have the confidence to turn your ideas into reality
  • Larissa Milden (of Improving Lives Plymouth) will be speaking about the fantastic work they've been doing for and with the people of Plymouth for over 100 years
  • Captain Ellie Ablett (Royal Navy) will be speaking about her role as commander of HMS Raleigh and chair of the Naval Servicewomen's Network and her continued focus on the need for people to lift and support each other in order to succeed.

In addition, groups, charities and businesses from the City and surrounding areas will be in attendance talking about what they are doing in the local community to address the specific issues that continue to obstruct true gender parity.

When achieved, gender equality will positively impact on all of us across so many areas including our economy, our business, our social lives and our mental wellbeing. As a result #PressforProgress is a campaign for everyone whether female or male. 

We look forward to the event today, where more than 300 guests are expected to attend and join us in celebrating International Women's Day. Finally, for anyone that might be wondering, International Men's Day is 19 November and we'll be marking that day as well!

By Emma Preston, Solicitor; Casey Whitehorn, Associate Paralegal; and Hannah Ryan, Trainee Solicitor