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International Women’s Day 2017


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International Women’s Day (IWD) is all about celebrating women around the world and fighting for equality alongside them. We’re passionate about working towards creating equal opportunities for women in business and with March 8 right around the corner, we want to encourage all of you to, as well.

IWD dates back to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding better working conditions and voting rights. This event is known as the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. A year later, February 28 marked the first IWD in the United States. Click here for a full International Women’s Day timeline.

Last year for IWD we talked about women entrepreneurs, who still face barriers in business, specifically barriers to growth. RBC states women business owners typically struggle with maintaining sufficient cash flow, recruiting, and retaining staff, all which hinder their ability to grow their business.

According to Key Business Statistics from 2016, as of 2014, men owned four times as many small to medium sized businesses than women, (64.7 per cent of men compared with 15.7 per cent of women).

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International Women’s Day 2017

This year’s IWD campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange, so we want to discuss how your small business can be bold, whether you’re a female entrepreneur or you employ amazing women and want to show your support.

The official website outlines five ways to be bold this International Women’s Day. Here are some of our favourite ideas from the list, plus a few of our own.

1. Challenge bias and inequality

  • Challenge stereotypes
  • Call it out when women are excluded
  • Monitor the gender pay gap
  • Point out bias and highlight alternatives
  • Embrace inclusive leadership
  • Redefine the status quo

2. Campaign against violence

  • Partner with a local women’s charity against violence in your community
  • Donate a percentage of your profit from certain products to charity groups
  • Donate to groups fighting abuse
  • Be vigilant and report violence in your company

3. Forge women’s advancement

  • Choose to be a progressive employer for women
  • Support or back other woman-owned business
  • Take a junior female colleague to a major meeting or event
  • Build conducive, flexible work environments
  • Appoint a woman to the board
  • Mentor a woman and sponsor her goals
  • Invite women into situations where they’re not already present or contributing
  • Measure and report on gender parity gaps and keep gender on the agenda
  • Create new opportunities for women

4. Celebrate women’s achievements

  • Raise women’s visibility as spokespeople in the media
  • Drive fairer recognition and credit for women’s contributions
  • Launch even more awards showcasing women’s success
  • Hail the success of women leaders
  • Applaude social, economic, cultural and polical women role models
  • Celebrate women’s journeys and the barriers overcome
  • Reinforce and support women’s triumphs

5. Champion women’s education

  • Launch or fund a women-focused scholarship
  • Encourage more girls into STEM education and careers
  • Value diversity for greater educational outcomes
  • Support women inventors of new products and services
  • Celebrate women researchers discovering new knowledge
  • Learn to code

Top resources for female entrepreneurs in Canada

Every day we work to support small businesses and are passionate about helping women start, grow and manage their business. To follow the conversation around International Women’s Day, follow the hashtags #BeBoldForChange and #IWD2017.

We’re giving all women a chance to succeed by adding their business to 411.ca for FREE 

Anastasia graduated with a BA Honors Communications Degree and is currently pursuing her passion for writing and helping small businesses succeed.