International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year and this year’s theme is gender parity.
Formerly known as International Working Women’s Day, IWD focuses on women’s achievements and draws attention to the political and social struggles women still face around the world.
In 2014, the World Economic Forum predicted that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. A year later, the date was subsequently amended to 2133.
While that might be a depressing thought, there are plenty of women giving us hope of a brighter future.
Women Bursting through Gender Pay Gap
1. Zanny Minton Beddoes
Beddoes isn’t just a prolific economics writer either. She also regularly appears on Marketplace and other public radio programmes, as well as Tucker Carlson Unfiltered.
As if all that wasn’t impressive enough, Beddoes is a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. With so many achievements already under her belt, it’ll be fascinating to see what she does next.
2. Frances O’Grady
Currently the General Secretary of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), O’Grady’s career has been defined by a fight for worker’s rights.
She continues to campaign tirelessly, not just for women’s pay, but to improve working conditions for everyone.
You probably know her best from her hit singles Chandelier and Elastic Heart from her 2014 album 1000 Forms of Fear.
However, she is also a highly sought after songwriter, having written Rihanna’s Diamonds, as well as hits for stars such as Madonna and Beyoncé.
Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms appeared instead of Sia in the videos for her latest singles. To date, they’ve been viewed over 1.7 billion times.
Despite rarely promoting her music and having the tendency to hide from her audience when performing, Sia has proven that if you have a good song, image really doesn’t matter.
4. Sara Khan
She is the Director and co-founder of Inspire, an organisation set up to actively empower Muslim women.
Inspire raises awareness of the inequalities British Muslim women face and challenges religious extremism.
There’s no doubt that her work is having a demonstrably positive effect on British Muslim women.
5. Stephanie Houghton, MBE
In 2012, Houghton was part of the first Great Britain women’s side for the 2012 Summer Olympics and in 2015, led England to qualify for their first FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-finals.
In 2016 Houghton was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to football.
Although we may have a long way to go before female footballers receive the same level of pay as their male counterparts, with players like Houghton around, the future for female footballing is looking good.
6. Mhairi Black
Graduating with a First in Politics and Public Policy from Glasgow, Black hadn’t quite finished her studies when she was elected, with a final exam on Scottish Politics still outstanding.
Black made her maiden speech on 14 July 2015, criticising the government, stating “Food banks are not part of the Welfare State. They are a symbol that the Welfare State is failing.” Within five days of the speech, it had been viewed over 10 million times.
She is certainly one to watch when it comes to the future of women in British politics.
7. Clare Balding, OBE
From winning Autobiography of the Year for My Animals and Other Family to becoming the BBC’s main face of rugby league, there seems to be nothing Balding can’t excel at.
Having started her broadcasting career in radio, she soon moved to television and is firmly established as not just a sports presenter but covering a wide range of other events, such as the Lord’s Mayor’s Show, and even guest presenting Countryfile.
Balding is also involved in charitable work and is the patron of a number of charities, including the British Thyroid Foundation, which she supports following her successful battle with thyroid cancer.
From business and politics to sports and music, these are just a small selection of women who refuse to let the gender pay gap be a barrier to their success.
However, if women are to achieve true parity before 2133, we all need to follow their lead, pursue our dream, work hard and not let anything stand in our way.
As women gain the confidence to demand to be paid what we’re truly worth, real progress can be made and maybe true equality won’t be so far away after all.
Are you paid less than your male co-workers? Do any of the women in our list inspire you to ask for more? Is there anyone you feel we should have included? Let us know in the comments below.