Today we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world for International Women’s Day. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #choosetochallenge.

A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions, all day every day. Collectively, we can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequity. We can choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements and we can help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, and this year we are being reminded to:

  • Increase visibility of women creatives  
  • Celebrate women in tech and innovation
  • Demand equality for women in sport
  • Build inclusive workspaces so women can thrive  
  • Forge women’s empowerment worldwide 
  • Educate women on health choice decisions

We asked Whitespacers what they were #choosingtochallenge this International Women’s Day, how they planned to go about it, and any tips they had to share. Here’s some of the things they said…

Language

 

 

This was a common theme with several Whitespacers #choosingtochallenge the language that they use. Thinking about the predominantly male terms that are used to address people was top on the agenda, and a parent in the agency wanted to challenge some of the gendered language that he had observed his two sons aged 5 and 2 were using. The use of non-inclusive language in our technical conversations was also a priority and is something that we can lead by example in changing and support our clients to do the same.

Updating our development standards and having an open and honest dialogue with teams to raise awareness of some of the issues is a step in the right direction. Getting people to stop and think about terminology and explore alternatives is also a focus for us. Being brave enough to call things out when we don’t feel something is right. We can all learn something from these simple tips.

Imposter Syndrome

 

 

Chances are, the majority of us have experienced this at some point in our lives, but the point is we need to talk about it more. Ask for feedback, listen to it and move forward. Find role models that inspire and motivate you. Be honest with yourself on where you need to develop but identify your superpower and use it. Be kind to yourself, there is only one you!

At Whitespace we choose to lift each other up, and one Whitespacer is doing just that by encouraging her friends to get involved in staying positive together. By choosing a different theme every week, they are keeping the human connection alive throughout this very challenging time.

Stigma

 

 

The wellbeing of our people is our top priority. One of our wellbeing champions is #choosingtochallenge the stigma around mental health by being a positive role model and champion for change. By encouraging others to share their experiences and educating around the importance of open and honest conversations on how you are feeling we hope to normalise mental health. By demonstrating the power of human connection and empathy, Whitespacers will be encouraged to bring their authentic self to work every day.

Education

 

 

Many of us are #choosingto to educate ourselves every day. We all have so much to learn, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming but you’ve got to ask yourself this…if not now, when?  

The trick is to know your own shortcomings, dig deep and be brave. The things that make you scared or embarrassed are the things that will fuel your education! If you are feeling uncomfortable about something you should stare that straight in the face. Are you avoiding an awkward conversation? Did someone say something to make you or those around you feel uncomfortable? If so, you've got to take action. Be brave. Say something. Educate yourself.

It’s also about inspiring the next generation of creatives. Our Head of Creative Chris Davey is #choosingtochallenge education by continuing to raise awareness of the power of creativity and the new Creative Thinking Qualification that is being rolled out to schools in Scotland as part of the DayDream Believers initiative. You can read more about that here.

Inequality

 

 

Many of us are #choosingtochallenge inequality in our own way. There’s the daily misogyny that people face, unfairness in and out of the workplace and inequality that is often experienced with working parents. Whitespacers have pledged to bring some of these issues to the forefront. To call them out, to challenge, to share their knowledge and experience in support of others. Together we can make a difference. Together we #choosetochallenge.