Why do we still need International Women’s Day? It’s a question that comes up every year around March, but as a female leader and HR professional, I believe it is essential to continue celebrating the impact and successes of women.
When I talk to colleagues, peers and friends, some argue that we are close to achieving equality; others say that we are only scratching the surface; some feel intersectionality is a core focus and then there is always the camp that would like an International Men’s Day.
It's a question of perspective
Everyone has their own personal perspective and unique experiences, but here is why I personally think International Women’s Day (IWD) should be celebrated:
As long as women still experience oppression and injustice because of their gender or the gender they identify with, and as long as women are faced with stereotypes and prejudices and are less represented in sports and many other fields, we need a formal way to collectively stand up and demand what we want society and our company to be.
This is also a time to consider and reflect upon what we have already achieved towards a better culture that develops, supports and amplifies women. IWD is a time to recognize and remember the struggle as well as the power of all the women across adidas who through their achievements enable us to challenge the status quo within and outside of our company.
Supporting new possibilities every day inspires me and so many others to work hard and be confident in a future of equality. This year’s global theme is #ChooseToChallenge. I am humbled to be a voice for my peers and advocate for women across adidas.
We are proud of all strong women
From Billie-Jean King to Steffi Graf, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Candace Parker, Mary Keitany and Peres Jepchirchir – who broke the women’s half marathon world record in Prague just last year – we have partnered with so many incredible women throughout the years that we can take inspiration from.
At adidas, we have supported such talented athletes by creating made-to-measure shoes for her since the 1970s, including the Lady Runner and the first women’s shoes for football, training and tennis. And product innovation “for her” is becoming more and more important.
We have also recognized the need to support our own women internally through better representation, family-friendly policies and specific mentoring programs for female talent.
Progress can be made. Support from male allies is imperative and so I would also call upon my male colleagues to be a voice of support in this regard.
Inclusion goes beyond gender
We continue our acceleration of equality and inclusion throughout adidas to empower our creativity even further. That’s why I am all in on IWD. Does that mean I am against an International Men’s Day? Not at all. In fact, we are celebrating our Global Day of Inclusion again this year. It’s a day of reflection, learning, and celebration of inclusion with the goal to champion individual uniqueness and support a feeling of belonging so everyone can create at their best.
Everyone deserves the same possibilities to rise into leadership positions as a result of their great performance, without any gender-related barriers. Read these four blogs to help you join other women in leadership.