March 8th is International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900’s. It represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. This year the theme is “Make it Happen” (follow #MakeitHappen on social media) and is an opportunity to explore how both women and men can become stronger catalysts for change.

Beyond organising your own events on campus, there are a number of international events taking place over the upcoming week that your students and staff can follow/take part in. The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, will have their annual event on the 10th and 11th of March in New York, where more than 880 business leaders from around the world will share their best practices in leadership on gender equality. The programmes includes a key note by Hillary Rodham Clinton, sessions presenting cutting edge policies and practice that are creating and improving employment opportunities for women, and look at how these strategies can be scaled up to overcome persistent challenge and barriers. The event will be broadcast live online and is an opportunity to engage students in these important discussions. Also online, the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson will host a special event to further her HeForShe campaign, which engages men and boys in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women and girls’ full participation in society.

Quite a few other businesses will have online, live webcasts of their events with recordings available afterwards including Deloitte, Accenture and many others are organising events locally open to business school students, faculty and staff.

Business schools are also organising a wide range of events in celebration of the day. Newcastle University Business School in the UK is organising a one-day event, Women in Business, to celebrate the success and hear the incredible stories of the region’s business women. INSEAD is hosting Inspire Impact Empower, an event on their Abu Dhabi Campus that brings together women leaders from the Middle East and provides them with a global platform to share their experiences. The University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business in the US organises an annual event called Women Leading Women, run by women and about women, which presents opportunities to discover common ground and make lasting connections. Monash Business School in Australia is having a series of guest speakers including one of Australia’s most powerful female chief executives. The University of Southampton celebrates the day over a full week of events across campus.

Business schools’ focus on women is not limited to celebrations of International Women’s Day. IILM in India has a series of events throughout the year focused on unleashing the potential of women in the workplace to discuss the various challenges faced by working women, and highlight the measures taken by the organisations that address these challenges. Maastricht University in the Netherlands organises an international research and policy seminar on promoting women’s entrepreneurship, exploring the role of women entrepreneurs in economic grown and social change, and looking at which policies and practices work best. The Women in Scotland’s Economy Research Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University works to promote and make visible women’s contribution and has contributed to an improved understanding of women’s economic contribution and informed the policies of both the Scottish Government and Parliament. In Turkey, Sabanci University maintains a database of board-ready women across the country, supports companies who want to have female directors on their boards, and monitors the change in gender diversity of corporate boards. They also produce an annually updated Women Empowered Board Index.

Several schools actively collaborate with already existing local campaigns. Reutlingen University in Germany regularly participates in a regional campaign organised by the Ministry of Finance and Economy for supporting women in the economy by organising lecturers or workshops on one of the following topics: return to the workforce after parental leave, women in senior management positions, female entrepreneurs, or work-life-balance. Rather than organise their own event, ESPAE will be supporting a Women’s Start up Weekend in Guayaquil, Ecuador on International Women’s Day, an event that invites women and men to create, in 54 hours, technology based solutions and business that solve problems faced by women.

Schools also take the opportunity to celebrate and highlight the efforts they are making in this area across campus and within their own operations. University of New South Wales in Australia has an Academic Women’s Employment Strategy, which includes a series of annual gender equity employment goals and targets. ESAN University in Peru opened a lactarium for use by mothers who are breastfeeding to save and store breastmilk and pumps in a private, comfortable and hygienic environment while at work.

For faculty, the PRME Working Group on Gender Equality’s Resource Repository continues to provides a wide range of materials and resources that can assist faculty in integrating gender issues and awareness into management education throughout the year, including case studies, syllabi, texts and good practices.

For more information on events and resources available around the world on this topic visit the official website for International Women’s Day (#IWD2015).


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