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International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day (March 8) celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year, the IWD theme is each for equal. An equal world is an enabled world. Let’s all be #EachforEqual.

Last year we celebrated IWD by sharing 3 ways to support International Women’s Day. This year, we wanted to let our employees share what IWD means to them. Below are some of the responses we received.

1. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“It is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the many positive changes that have happened to create equality, while committing ourselves more fully to the necessary structural and social changes needed to make full equality of opportunity possible. We each have our part to play in that process. International Women’s Day encourages and facilitates that vital and necessary dialogue.” – Stephen Keys, IFS President, APJ & MEA

“It’s a day where we reflect on improvements made for women’s rights and an opportunity to discuss further improvements.” – Candice Jarre, HR Director

“IWD is about celebrating the power of women. It shines a spotlight on the many inspirational, supportive and motivational stories which ultimately empower us, as women and girls, to achieve our full potential.  I truly believe that when women support each other incredible things happen.” – Stephanie Poore, Account Manager 

International Women’s Day

2. What qualities make a great leader?

“The most important qualities of a great leader include integrity, accountability, empathy, humility, resilience, vision, influence positivity and the capacity to surround yourself with good people.” – Zoran Radumilo, IFS President, Global High Potential Markets

“I agree with Simon Sinek, who says a leader is ‘someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust.’– Candice Jarre, HR Director

“A great leader is passionate. They want to help their team be the very best. They support and provide direction and clarity.” – Christine La Voi, Senior Client Manager

“A person who can lead and influence.” – Kavindya Piyasumana, Corporate Social Responsibility Executive

International Women's Day


3. Are there any assumptions about women that you would like to change? Why?

“Women don’t need to ‘prove themselves’ to their peers as having the competence or rightfully deserving a role.” – Cindy Jaudon, IFS President, Americas

“The idea that women are naturally more nurturing than men. Many people believe that women possess certain characteristics that men don’t. Such attributes can seem positive, but they reduce women to a stereotype that many [women] don’t fit. These assumptions also strip men of the ability to freely express themselves.” – Zoran Radumilo, IFS President, Global High Potential Markets

“I would love to live in a world where behavior traits are treated equally. Male leaders are viewed as decisive and women leaders are viewed as bossy or men are confident, and women are controlling. I want my daughter to have an equal voice. I don’t want special treatment, but I want to be judged based on my capabilities not my gender. Messaging around women is so important because if you hear the same messages every day you start believing them.” – Christine La Voi, Senior Client Manager

Internatioanl Women's Day - Sri Lanka Office

4. Why is it important that businesses acknowledge International Women’s Day?

“We simply cannot afford to do without women’s expertise, whether that is in business, technology, or the wider economy. When organizations recognize this, it is a necessary first step in changing the language and structure of power, such that women are ultimately afforded an equal role in business and society as a whole.” – Stephen Keys, President IFS APJ & MEA

“Sadly there is still a huge amount of inequality in the workplace whether that be reflected in gender pay gaps, judgement that a male has superior knowledge to their female counterpart or just simple discrimination that women are more suited to menial jobs. Great strides have been taken in recent years, but there is still a long way to go and IWD is a great reminder of this.” – Stephanie Poore, Account Manager 

“Celebrating International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of women’s issues and provide dialogue forums to find solutions together.” – Kavindya Piyasumana, Corporate Social Responsibility Executive

“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to honor the women who have been at the forefront of fighting against gender inequality.” – Zoran Radumilo, IFS President, Global High Potential Markets

“We should acknowledge the improvements made and all of the work that is yet to be done. It is important to be part of a company that cares about these rights.” – Candice Jarre, HR Director

“International Women’s Day gives everyone an opportunity to look at the accomplishments women add to society and provides an opportunity to look at what is next.” – Christine La Voi, Senior Client Manager

Each for Equal - International Women's Day

5. Why is the Each for Equal theme important to you?

“Everyone deserves the equal right to be effective, to make a difference and the right to be taken seriously.” – Stephen Keys, President IFS APJ & MEA

“The each for equal theme is important for me because it reiterates the importance of everyone playing their part. Equality is not the responsibility of one group or person. There is increased awareness of an individual’s responsibility for their actions and beliefs, we can no longer hide behind societal norms when we recognize how flawed they are. This means we all have a role to play in creating a fair and equal society.” – Katie Latta, Global CSR Programme Manager

“It is important to me because collectively, we can make things change.” – Candice Jarre, HR Director

“For me Each for Equal represents a perfectly equal world in which your gender plays no part. At this destination, there would ultimately be no need for IWD as people would be chosen on their abilities and attitude alone. Absolutely no girl should grow up thinking she can’t do something based on her gender, she should feel inspired and empowered to be the best version of herself. Until that day, I will celebrate the amazing women and girls I have in my life every single day.” – Stephanie Poore, Account Manager 

International Women's Day


Get Involved

Everyone, everywhere, can get involved with IWD. Join us in promoting IWD on social media by striking the each for equal pose using #IWD2020 and #EachForEqual. Don’t forget to tag @IFS on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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