How could business leaders make a difference on International Women's Day 2023?

  • Thursday, February 16, 2023
  • Posted By GM Leadership Hive

What is International Women's Day 2023? 

International Women's Day (IWD) is an annual event celebrated on March 8th to recognise women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It is a day to celebrate the progress that has been made towards gender equity and to raise awareness about the challenges that women continue to face around the world. The theme for International Women's Day 2023 is #EmbraceEquity. Equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have in our today’s world.  


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Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity. IWD 2023's campaign theme aims to get the world talking about why "equal opportunities are no longer enough." 

International Women's Day 2023 campaign theme: #EmbraceEquity

IWD is celebrated in many countries worldwide, with events and activities organised by governments, businesses, and civil society organisations to promote gender equality and empower women. For businesses, it presents an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contributions of women in the workplace and to reflect on and address any gender-based disparities or biases that may exist within the organisation. While it can also serve as a platform for businesses to showcase their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, having a gender-diverse leadership can further benefit most of the organisation.  

Dawn Duggan, Head of People, Skills & Talent at GC Business Growth Hub, said: "In business, companies that have gender diverse leadership perform much better than companies who don't encourage leadership diversity. The rise of female leadership in business, communities and political positions have demonstrated what it means to be an effective leader which is equal to those of their male counterparts. Women make good leaders because of their resilience, dealing with multiple tasks and through emotionally intelligent communication. Businesses need both great male and female role models to bring diversity of thought and experience, which enables businesses to grow, become more profitable, sustainable and healthier organisations." 

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On International Women's Day 2023, one of the key focus is to make gender equity to be part of every society's and business's DNA. First, it's critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.  

What is the difference between Equity and Equality?  

The terms equity and equality are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings, particularly when addressing gender inequality.  
Equality refers to treating everyone the same, regardless of their differences. It assumes that all individuals have the same starting point and that fairness can be achieved by treating everyone equally. However, this approach does not take into account the fact that people have different needs and that some individuals may face more obstacles than others.   
On the other hand, equity refers to providing individuals with what they need to achieve equal outcomes, regardless of their differences. Obviously, an equity-based approach is generally considered to be more effective than an equality-based approach, as it recognizes and addresses the systemic barriers that prevent women from achieving equal outcomes.  
It's good to see that women have made significant strides in leadership roles in some less female-involved industries, e.g. manufacturing. Even though there is still progress in representation and equity, women in manufacturing leadership bring diverse skills and perspectives, including strengths in communication, collaboration and innovation, to make a difference.   

Anne Campion, Head of Manufacturing & Sustainability at GC Business Growth Hub, stated: "It's fantastic that more and more women are now choosing to work in manufacturing and are also progressing into senior leadership roles. Whilst there is definitely more work to be done on achieving gender balance in the manufacturing sector, attitudes are indeed changing and doors are certainly opening. We all benefit from the support of passionate female role models who are having such a positive impact on innovation and our journey to achieving a sustainable approach to manufacturing for future generations." 



What does International Women's Day 2023 mean to business leaders? 

As a business leader, this day is an opportunity to reflect on your organisation's role in promoting gender equity and inclusiveness. 
From a business perspective, recognising and promoting gender equity can benefit significantly. Working in a diversity and inclusion environment can greatly benefit your company.  

Vickie Killan, Senior Business Advisor at GC Business Growth Hub, said: "Working within a business that has over 80% females within its leadership team and having recently become a female leader myself, its positive to see how much support is available both internally from experienced leaders, line management and training and externally through provisions such as the GM Leadership Hive." 

On the other hand, if a leader and their employees can join programmes that include diversity and inclusion elements, it could raise awareness about unconscious biases and learn a culture of respect and inclusion more easily. 
"Our Executive Development Programme (EDP) provision has specially designed guidance programmes for female leaders providing holistic support at all stages, exposing attendees to various levels of expertise in a safe environment. The recently developed Workforce Development Programme (WDP) of support has been specifically designed to be flexible for all leader's dependant on their years of experience and their identified areas of leadership growth." Vickie Killan continued. 


While holding events or activities can help celebrate women's achievements in your workplace and raise awareness about gender equity, encouraging mentorship programmes can help women advance in their careers.  

Adele Cope, Mentoring Relationship Specialist at GC Business Growth Hub, said, "As a female in a leadership role I understand both the challenges and opportunities that women can face in their career and running their own businesses. Having female mentors as role models not only acts as a guide to others in their leadership position but demonstrates to people like myself that we are respected for our insights and valued for our ability to create real impact by helping others, which in turn encourages others to support one another to inspire us to achieve more." 

iMentor works by matching service users who are looking for business guidance with an experienced mentor who is able to provide useful knowledge and help to apply actionable strategies. Find out more here.




BGH Match Oldham

Businesses from across Greater Manchester are invited to Oldham Athletic Football Club in Oldham for a special edition of BGH Match to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Join us as we bring together motivational and inspirational women from Greater Manchester for a panel discussion highlighting our region's successes.

Panellists include:

Amanda Chadderton, Leader of Oldham Council

Janine Smith, Director of GC Business Growth Hub

Leanne Holmes, Managing Director of Crane Payments

Steph Scholles, Sales Director of Needi

Dr. Rufzan Bibbi, Founder of Bitter Sweet

You can register to join us for FREE here 


What does International Women's Day's mean to employees? 

As an employee, this day is an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made towards gender equity and to think about what more can be done to support women in the workplace and beyond. 
For many employees, International Women's Day may also be a time to think about the challenges women face in their personal and professional lives. This could include unequal pay, limited career advancement opportunities, and balancing work and family responsibilities. 
In the workplace, International Women's Day can be an opportunity for employees to show their support for gender equity. This could include: 

Get involved in events or activities organised by the company to celebrate the achievements of women and raise awareness about gender equity. 

Have conversations with colleagues to embrace equity and what more can be done to support women in the workplace.

provide an opportunity for female colleagues to grow in their professional development and advancement 

Again, International Women's Day is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to promoting gender equity and creating a more inclusive workplace. We can address the systemic barriers together that prevent women from achieving equal outcomes and provide them with the support and resources they need to overcome those barriers. By taking meaningful actions to support women, you can make a positive difference and create a better future for everyone.  

About GM Leadership Hive

Delivered by GC Business Growth Hub in partnership with Greater Manchester’s university business schools, the Greater Manchester Leadership Hive brings together the best leadership and management training the region can offer, all in one place.  

From executive and workforce development to mentoring programmes and support with sustainability and inclusivity, the Hive gives small business leaders everything they need to run their businesses as effectively as possible.