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International Women's Day 2021

International Women's Day 2021 header image

International Women's Day (March 8th) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

At OneSearch, women make up 67% of Senior Leadership and Management, and 83% of Deputy roles. This year, we reached out to the women of OneSearch to find out who inspired them, what advice they’d give to young women today, and as this year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge, we wanted to know what they choose to challenge.


Who is your biggest inspiration?

Temple Grandin

"Temple was diagnosed with Autism at an early age and faced difficulty interacting with peers. She has changed the way of the meat industry in America. She has a different scope on the world, which brought her huge success as both an animal behaviour expert and as a parenting guru. I am in so much awe of her as she was virtually written off as a brain-damaged child because of her Autism, yet has gone on to hold a conference about Autism and Asperger's syndrome in front of 500 people including Psychologists, teachers, social workers and parents. Wow you are amazing!” Claire, Customer Service Advisor

 

Jacinda Ardern

"Jacinda is a New Zealand politician who rose to become the world’s youngest female head of government at the age of 37. She later became the world’s second elected head of government to give birth while in office. As a government leader she continues the work of pioneering women to continue the progress for female equality.” Sharon, Customer Service Advisor

 

Stacey Solomon

"As a young mum myself, she has shown that the "young mum" stereotype is completely wrong. Just because you are young doesn't mean you love yourself or your children any less, or are less capable of caring for them properly. You need to work hard and be determined, and she is filled to the brim with that. She is completely herself and talks openly and realistically which I think is exactly what girls especially need to hear these days. Very much a role model and inspiration to me.” Katie, Personal Search Agent

 

Jo Whiley

"With a younger, severely disabled sister, Jo Whiley has been campaigning to raise awareness for vulnerable people in society who had been overlooked in care homes. Jo's sister Francis, who is 53 and in a care home, was not offered the Covid vaccine and Jo Whiley felt guilty that she'd received her vaccine appointment before her sister. Devastatingly, there was an outbreak of Covid in her sister's care home and Francis was admitted to hospital in a critical condition, fighting for her life. Thankfully, Francis pulled through and will be given the vaccine as soon as she has fully recovered. Essentially Jo Whiley had to use her position to campaign to get a voice for the severely disabled to help them too." Hazel, Regional HR & Facilities Manager

 

Malala Yousafzai

"Shot by the Taliban for having the temerity to go to school, this young woman is an inspiration to us all but particularly young women. She’s the youngest Nobel Prize laureate but her activism started before she was wounded in 2012. She has used her platform amazingly and there is no doubt she has an important future highlighting oppression of human rights and womens’ difficulties in accessing education.” Elizabeth, Managing Director

 

Mhairi Black

“Mhairi was only 20 years old when she became an elected MP - she hadn’t even completed her degree in Politics and Public Policy yet! No matter what your political affiliation, if you've ever heard Mhairi speak you'll know she is impassioned and unafraid to challenge those in power, and often advocates for those who don’t have a voice, which, in many cases, includes women. She is constantly at the receiving end of online misogynistic abuse, but thankfully doesn’t let this stop her.” Catherine, Marketing Manager

 

“I don’t have a particular stand out icon.  I just admire every single woman who juggles a demanding career, children, family commitments and a full-on schedule day after day.  It’s relentless, particularly during these times, but still these women turn up day in, day out even when they have very little left in the tank.  They are quite simply amazing!” Caroline, Group Financial Controller


What advice would you give to young women today? 

"Always look forward and don't keep looking back.  As you may miss important opportunities if still looking in the rear-view mirror!"  Hazel

"Be yourself and nothing else, don't try to compare yourself to other people just be you and all you." Katie

“Stop doubting yourself and don’t always think that someone else will do it better.  Be confident in yourself and your ability.  It will serve you well in later years!” Caroline

"Don’t be afraid to dream big always believe in yourself, your powers are in your thoughts." Clare

"Work hard, be tenacious and always stand up for what you think is right.” Elizabeth

“Say ‘YES’ to every opportunity life presents you with – There will always be time to work out the logistics later.” Sharon

“Learn how to create personal boundaries, fiercely protect them, and don't let anyone tread on them, no matter what.” Catherine


This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge - what do you choose to challenge?

“I choose to challenge the ‘Gender Confidence Gap’. We should be confident in who we are and what we do. We should be as confident in our abilities and performance as our counterparts.” Sharon

“I choose to challenge self-care guilt. Shutting off for an hour to sit and do things for you is the best thing for you! I think I talk for many parents (and a whole load of us who aren't parents), you never put yourself first, or really think about yourself, but it is so important to care for yourself.” Katie

“Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself or others who are more vulnerable and need a helping hand.” Hazel

“I choose to challenge the belief that putting yourself first is selfish. It isn’t. No one in your life benefits from you being second best” Elizabeth

“I choose to challenge misogyny, especially the more subtle cases which are often ignored to "keep the peace" or out of fear of being accused of "overreacting". Misogyny that goes unchallenged becomes normalised. If I hear or experience something that I wouldn't like my daughter or son to say, hear, or experience, then I will be calling it out.” Catherine

“Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. From experience, I have seen too many women frightened to put their opinions across in case they are mentally or physically beaten by bullies.” Clare

“I echo the answer given by Liz.  I am a firm believer in the saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup.  If you don’t look after yourself then you won’t be able to give the best of yourself.  It’s not always easy to do, and it goes hand in hand with guilt at taking any time for yourself at all.  However, this year more than any other, I can see the true importance of this.” Caroline


International Women's Day 2021

On the IWD website it states: A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequity. We can choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let's all #ChooseToChallenge.


What do you #ChooseToChallenge this International Women's Day? Join the conversation on LinkedIn here.