International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th every year. It is a central point in the movement for women’s rights and equality. We remember the first Women’s Day event which was organised by the Socialist Party on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference then suggested a Women’s Day to be held annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March the 8th then became a national holiday there.

The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations. Today, International Women’s Day is a public holiday in some countries and largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.

In London there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women’s suffrage on March 8, 1914. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square, and history informs us of the movement within the UK.

Each year we celebrate international Women’s Day with a theme and the most powerful themes of 2015 was “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity, something which is so important to my work with Women. 

This year 2019, the theme for “International Women’s Day” is: ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. The focus of the theme is on innovative ways in which to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.  

I would like women to consider how to share their ideas around “Think Equal”, as we still have a long way to go on the equality agenda. However, when we look at building smart and innovate for change, I believe women can collectively take action and share ownership of how to drive the gender parity forward! AS Gloria Steinem, the world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.

To be empowered as a woman does not mean we act “like a man” it means we bring to the world our ways of nurturing each other and to balance the way in which we engage. As women we have so many permitting ways in which to create and harmonize the lives of our families, friends and work colleagues.

However, sadly still today, I see so many women who do not empower themselves, and let their voice be heard! If as a woman, you feel like you are dis-empowered or you are not as self-assured as you would like to be, then I suggest you look at stepping up and asking for the help of other women or engage in training or indeed coaching, which for me is one of the most powerful things you can do to become confident in who you are, and what you want to contribute to the world will become so much easier once you are empowered!

Today I would like to thank other women who have supported me throughout my life and enabled me to make the changes I so needed to make, in order to become an empowered but gentle woman of integrity 

Eileen Hutchinson Leadership Coach & Owner of EH Leadership Coaching Academy, with center status from ILM.

Eileen specializes in helping clients with inspired learning and leadership development, by supporting and equipping talent management with a variety of training or coaching packages

Eileen works with senior management teams, individuals, independents, & other coaches on executive, interpersonal or business coaching. Please visit her websites for more information.