MyCouncilWorks

Wellbeing Wednesday – 9th March 2022

Jane Fowler

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello and welcome to this week’s International Women’s Day Wednesday. Having a day to recognise and celebrating the cultural, political, social, scientific and economic achievements of women is interesting – we do make up over 50% of the population! But the way that history and society has and continues to represent women and their rights means that there is still a way to go before a day like this becomes obsolete.

In the UK, and most modern democracies, the situation is much fairer than it has been, and is, in other countries. In our own organisation 60% of the senior leadership team are women and around 73% of all of our staff are women. We benefit from hard fought employment and maternity rights, and expect equal opportunities in education and work. There are still traditional ‘male’ and ‘female’ roles in work, but we have some fantastic role models in our council who buck this trend from engineers and mechanics to ICT programmers, from Apprentices to Directors. 

I see our job as continuing to show young women and girls that they can do and be anything that they want to – and that the stereotypes of what a ‘woman’ should do, or look like, or dress like are just that – ideas that exist to try and put you in a convenient pigeonhole. Study what you like, play whatever sport you like, dress how you like, talk about and be proud of your ideas and ambitions and dreams – and don’t let anyone tell you that ‘girls don’t do that’.

And if you are interested in design and how it affects women in society – have a read of Caroline Criado Perez’s book ‘Invisible Women’. It is quite revealing!

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration held annually on 8th March to commemorate the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of women. It is also a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

The earliest version of this celebration of women is thought to be a “Women’s Day” organised by the Socialist Party of America in New York in February 1909. This inspired German delegates at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference to propose “a special Women’s Day” be organised annually, and the following year saw the first demonstrations and commemorations of International Women’s Day across Europe.

After women gained the right to vote in Soviet Russia in 1917, IWD was made a national holiday on March 8 it was subsequently celebrated on that date by the socialist movement and communist countries. The holiday was associated with far-left movements and governments until its adoption by the global feminist movement in the late 1960s. IWD became a mainstream global holiday following its adoption by the United Nations in 1977.

International Women’s Day is commemorated in a variety of ways worldwide; it is a public holiday in several countries, and observed socially or locally in others. The UN observes the holiday in connection with a particular issue, campaign, or theme in women’s rights. In some parts of the world, IWD still reflects its political origins, being marked by protests and calls for radical change; in other areas, particularly in the West, it is largely sociocultural and centred on a celebration of womanhood.



The theme for the 2022 Campaign is#BreakTheBias, looking at promoting a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination and where difference is valued and celebrated.

You can find more information on International Women’s Day 2022 here

Inspirational Women

In celebration of International Women’s Day, you may want to look at the work of some of the most inspirational women across the world, past and present, and their work to promote equality, inclusion and recognition for women and to value their contribution to society.  Here are some examples of inspirational women across the world.

The BBC publish an annual list of the top 100 inspirational and influential women across the world and you can find details of the 2021 list here.

Women's Health

The Scottish Government has produced a Women’s Health Plan aiming to reduce health inequalities for women and girls by raising awareness around women’s health, improving access to health care and reducing inequalities in health outcomes for girls and women, both for sex-specific conditions and in women’s general health. Whether you’re starting your period, choosing contraception, planning for pregnancy, or managing menopause symptoms, there’s support available.

The different stages in a woman’s life present both health challenges and opportunities and many aspects of women’s health are present throughout more than one life stage. Each stage presents important and differing opportunities to promote and protect health and wellbeing and can be divided into three periods:

  • Girls and young women (puberty to around 25 years)
  • Middle and reproductive years (around 25 to 50 years)
  • Later years (around 51 years and over)

NHS inform has lots of resources to help women at all stages of life and offer support whether you’re looking for advice, information, local support, or ideas for improving your wellbeing.  Information is available on all the issues specific to women, such as menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and gender specific cancers, as well as general health advice and information.

Webinar – Women’s Mental Health

Finally this week, Health Assured our EAP have a helpful Webinar this month on Women’s Mental Health, where they discuss the challenges women face in day-to-day life, triggers, and ways to look after their mental health.  You can watch it here

 

Thanks for reading and, as ever, keep in touch with us at wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk