Not just because it’s International Women’s Day but because the lack of parity in the world still requires an abundance of prompting for change. Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement.
We have much to celebrate today within our own credit union movement. Many successful credit unions are run by women but more importantly the legacy of many women throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s has left a legacy of greater parity within the credit union movement than perhaps many other industries. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many other work-places.
We need to show the way to other industries by our example. I have had the benefit of directly working alongside many excellent credit union leaders such as Rose Dorman (Glasgow), Rose Asquith (Hattersley), Marie Gray (Liverpool), Christine Moore (Manchester), June Smith (Tameside), Karen Bennett (Liverpool) and Angela Fishwick (Wigan). This list is not exhaustive but I have observed that these women have fought, over time, for change and improvement, in their credit unions, and these businesses are improved both economically and spiritually as a direct result of their efforts. There are many more credit union women heroes out there; let’s celebrate their success and the part women had in building a credit union movement with over 1 million members over the last few years.
Great strides in parity within the credit union movement are not always reflected elsewhere. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.
So how do we want to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016? Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Commit to take action to accelerate gender parity.
Globally, with individuals pledging to move from talk to purposeful action – and with men and women joining forces – we can collectively help women advance equal to their numbers and realize the limitless potential they offer economies the world over. We have urgent work to do.