It’s a month away from International Women’s Day 2024, normally a good time to start planning celebrations. Planning for your celebration requires careful consideration however, with some highlighting their frustrations at companies belittling the day with events, cupcakes and pink coloured giveaways, whilst ignoring fundamental issues of inequity at work.
So how should International Women’s Day be recognised by the energy sector?
This year’s UN theme is: 'Invest in women: Accelerate progress'
Confusingly there is also a second theme produced by a private company called ‘International Women’s Day’ with their tagline ‘Inspire Inclusion’, encouraging us all to make a heart shape with our hands. AXIS have chosen to highlight the UN theme this year, so how does ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate progress’ apply to the energy sector?
The UN state: ‘In a world facing multiple crises that are putting immense pressure on communities, achieving gender equality is more vital than ever. Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights across all aspects of life is the only way to secure prosperous and just economies, and a healthy planet for future generations.
It’s a simple question of: are we investing enough as an industry to bring about gender equity? An easy measure of this is the sector’s collective gender pay gap. This is something that AXIS will focus on heavily in 2024, analysing the change since it was first introduced and highlighting successes as well as improvement points in the industry.
The reporting deadline for gender pay gap is 4th April, utilising the snapshot of 5th April from the preceding year. Most companies will have known their gender pay gap for a while; we encourage all our pledge companies and the industry in general to reflect on whether change is happening fast enough and what they can do to accelerate progress.
Given recent social media criticisms, should we still be celebrating International Women’s Day? Many equity, diversity and inclusion speakers who focus on gender complain that they’re completely booked up the week of the 8th March but the rest of the year it’s a challenge to get speaking slots.
Gender equity isn’t an issue for one week a year; it’s a business imperative that should have a clear plan and strategy, with measurable outcomes that are regularly reviewed to ensure progress in the right direction.
Support in building a long term strategy that will deliver real change is available to our Pledge signatories through participation in our round table discussions scheduled for 2024. Having said that, International Women’s Day is a still needed and this year we encourage everyone to reflect and challenge ourselves, asking: ’are we investing enough in gender equity?’
We should still celebrate the day and the achievements of the women in our industry, we just might want to shy away from those pink frosted cupcakes.