International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
This year the theme for International Women's Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. I was invited to contribute a workshop to the event led by Sheffield Hallam University and University of Sheffield with Kirsty Bowen. We'd never met before but hit it off straight away, both sharing a passion for using social media as a communication channel and a means of developing valued learning networks.
Our workshop focused on using social media to create a professional online presence. Kirsty and I shared our own experiences and some good practice tips. The workshop element provided an opportunity for participants to explore a variety of social media tools and discuss how these can be used to connect, communicate, curate, collaborate and create. The session was delivered twice (as were the other options) so it was interesting to see the different questions that emerged. Feedback was positive via the post-it notes collected and demonstrated that staff development sessions like these are valued. Not just from what you can learn in a workshop, but the rich conversations that emerge as a result of bringing people together.
At the event there were two truly inspiring keynote speakers. Both shared their career paths in an honest and open way. Unsurprisingly their progression took grit and resilience. Being a leader is with any doubts hard, and with the role comes the responsibility to make hard decisions. Hard because they involve people - and people matter, people's lives matter.
I wish the keynotes had been recorded. I'd love to listen to them both again. Below are just a few quotes from both Natalie and Christina.
Natalie Bennet - Former Leader of the Green Party
"Everyone together can make a difference" @natalieben #IWD2017 #IWDSheff17 pic.twitter.com/6pCh1ZPkbV— Sue Beckingham (@suebecks) March 8, 2017
My favourite quote from Natalie was taken from the sash she brought with her, which said:
"Well behaved women seldom make history"
Professor Christina Hughes - Pro Vice Chancellor Student Experience at Sheffield Hallam University
Talkin Bout a Revolution - Tracy Chapman. It starts with a whisper. Fab start to PVC Christina Hughes keynote #IWD2017 #IWDSheff17 pic.twitter.com/zAKCv0Bh62— Sue Beckingham (@suebecks) March 8, 2017
Christina's advice to us all was:
"Be the brightest shade of you that you can possibly be"
International Women's Day website
I recommend taking a look at the International Women's Day website and follow @womensday on Twitter to read about the many inspiring stories.
The ethos is to work together to help forge a better working world - a more gender inclusive world. Consider how you might contribute. Suggestions made include challenge bias and inequality, campaign against violence, forge women's advancement, celebrate women's achievements, and champion women's education.
At my own university there were also events going for students and a rich collection of stories of inspiring women https://www.shu.ac.uk/iwd2017. At the University of Sheffield take at look at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/womens-network/iwd
Follow on Twitter @womensday #IWD2017 #BeBoldForChange
Make a pledge for parity
Note: Responses are captured by https://www.internationalwomensday.com