International Women’s Day – do we still need it I hear from the back row??


Well you decide….

Our Founder Jane Kenyon speaks up about IWD

Stalking, silencing, harassing, trolling, gaslighting, assaulting, mutilating, threatening, abusing, trafficking, dismissing, raping, cancelling, attacking, slut-shaming, murdering, sexism, growth in far right misogyny, coercing, violence, revenge porn.

Under-represented; under-valued; underpaid.


  • 75% of all Parliamentarians are male
  • 73% of all managerial decision-makers are male
  • 67% of all climate negotiators are male
  • 87% of all the people around the peace table are male, even when we know if women are involved the outcomes are more peaceful and more sustainable
  • 60% of the people who cannot read are women
  • 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 every year, many as young as 10
  • 1 in 5 women have experienced violence in the past 12 months at the hands of a man they know

Are you OK with this?  Do you think this is just the way it is and women should just accept their lot and be grateful for the progress we have made?

Now believe me I am a glass half full kinda gal and I have nothing but admiration for all the women who came before me and campaigned for all the rights today I take for granted –  from my right to vote; my right own and decide what happens to my own body; my right to own my own house and not be seen as the chattel of my husband; the improvements to equal pay and working conditions and discrimination legislation.  I am eternally grateful for them all, but and it’s a BIG but we are not done yet.

As someone who spends many hours every week working with teenage girls I can tell you the playground, it is a changing and not in our favour.  Girls want to be porn barbie to please boys; girls value their appearance over substance; girls are competing with each other, not supporting each other, this is the lesson they learn from Reality TV and it is not serving them; girls accept disrespectful and often aggressive behaviour from boys as a fait accompli; self-harming and anxiety is so common it has been normalised; girls think eating is a sin and are on permanent diets/fasts or restricted regimes; girls spend too much time online looking for validation and this impacts their sleep, leading to a lack of concentration in class.   You can see where this is going can you not? 

Sisterhood is an anathema, good mental health and wellbeing is a challenge and  aspirations are pretty way down their list of priorities.   The landscape they are navigating on a daily basis takes all their energy and their world is sending them some pretty clear messages, none of them about empowerment, independence, gumption or self-respect.

How do we help them find their voice, if we don’t use our own?  If we are accepting the status quo I mentioned at the beginning of this rant, how do they know it is possible to expect more?

This year’s IWD theme is #choosetochallege so I am asking you to do just that. 

  • Challenge yourself to step up, speak up and embrace sisterhood
  • Challenge your work environment to ensure they are taking gender parity seriously
  •  And challenge the society you live in, to recognise inequality and misogyny. 
  •  Call it out. Refuse to be silent.

Here’s to all the loud, bossy, difficult, unrelenting, uncompromising, direct and fierce campaigners and to every woman who refuses to be silent.  I salute you.