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September 25, 2014

Feminist, Emma Watson – you’re a star!

Emma at UN HeForShe launch

What does feminism really mean?

Feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes”.

Thank you Emma Watson for so eloquently reminding us of the true meaning of the word feminism and that gender equality is an issue for both men and women. In her role as UN Goodwill Ambassador launching the UN HeForShe campaign, Emma called out to men as she took the opportunity to invite them to get involved “Gender Equality is your issue too”

We couldn’t agree more that feminism should be as inclusive and open as possible and we join Emma in saluting all men who come out as feminists in support of HeForShe by announcing their belief in gender equality.

Emma also went on to say “I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision making that affect my life. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.”

We do not yet have true gender equality in the UK and this inequality sees itself replicated in the workplace. Businesses lose out by not making the most of their female talent.  We need more men to be aware of the issues affecting women in the work place and to help women to overcome them in a positive way.  We need men and women to talk about what it’s like to be a woman in the workplace, to not be embarrassed to say they are feminists and to challenge and support gender diversity in the workplace.

Nearly everyday at The Glass Lift  we hear stories from women about gender related issues they face at work such as how they have experienced a lack of respect, how they feel the need to continually prove  their competence, how they struggle to juggle their work and home life and how they have very little time to recharge their own batteries.  Only 5% of CEO’s in the FTSE 100 companies are women, in a talent pool where 50% are women.  In 2014 how can that be?  The figures are worse for the FTSE 350 and smaller companies and dire in some industry sectors. Women do not lack ability, intelligence, ambition and drive.  More women in leadership offers an opportunity to move the economy and society forward into the 21st century:  more collaboration, a better approach to risk, increased consideration for people at work leading to better performance to name just a few.  We believe it’s essential that people understand that the equality debate is not over and have an appreciation of the barriers that prevent gender equality at work such as those we outline above.

In the UK we don’t have some of the extreme issues relating to gender inequality experienced by other countries.  However, in 2014 gender inequality still prevails we would ask that all people listen to women’s stories, remember to stand up for gender equality and encourage diversity at home, here in Britain as well as supporting this fantastic global campaign. The UN Women HeforShe campaign aims to get 100,000 men and boys involved in the fight to achieve gender equality.  Please play your part.

If you want to see Emma’s moving speech click here.

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