Charities and businesses across the world have called for gender equality and stronger female leadership on International Women’s Day. The theme for the 2014 event is ‘inspiring change’.
International Women’s Day, established by the UN and taking place on March 8 every year, is a celebration of the goals achieved by women worldwide in terms of equality and opportunities. It is also a chance to speak out against discrimination.
Although many women still suffer from discrimination in the workplace and lack of basic health assistance and education in many developing world countries, their role is being increasingly recognised as vital in modern economies.
According to recent research, women are a “significant economic force” when it comes to responsible investment. Meanwhile, the number of females on FTSE 100 company boards and in managerial roles in the City of London are also increasing.
Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), said, “We wholeheartedly support International Women’s Day as it aligns with our core values, particularly those of diversity and opportunity.
“In 2014 ACCA’s female membership stands at 45%, while its female students account for 51%. Our extensive work into diversity issues shows that a real commitment to diversity widens the talent pool.
“Innovation is key to changing things for the better. The profession has a massive part to play in inspiring change.”
Women have also been held up by the UN as essential to sustainable development and challenges posed by climate change.
World Health Organisation director Dr Margaret Chan said that many health challenges have been solved thanks to women in disadvantaged countries.
“Throughout history, women have been associated with care and compassion”, she said.
“Worldwide, up to 80% of healthcare is provided in the home, almost always by women. This should inspire our admiration, but it should also underscore the need for change. Most of this work is unsupported, unrecognised, and unpaid.
“On this International Women’s Day, let me thank these women for a level of dedication that can improve the world in a permanent way.”