International Women’s Day 2024

International Women's Day, Taylor Swift concert
And we see you over there on the internet,
Comparing all the girls who are killing it,
But we figured you out,
We all know now, we all got crowns,
You need to calm down.
– Taylor Swift

We're celebrating the 2024 International Women's Day with a piece from our 'Fearless' leader, Annabel Rees (with a Taylor Swift twist).

I didn’t write an essay last year, I was unimpressed with the rhetoric that surrounded the day, the tokenism and the bandwagons when we all know equality still very much exists (see the recent WGEA pay equality data!)

Unfortunately, I have also experienced (and I know I am not alone!) discrimination from other women that have unfortunately believe that the only way to succeed is to either “be more like a man” (I actually had a female leader once tell me I needed to lead more like a man!) or to take advantage of other women to be successful.

Any minority group knows, that we are stronger together than alone. The more women support each other, stop falling for any attempts at comparisons and celebrate each other for our successes and wins, then we are collectively better for it.

You would have been hard pressed to have missed that Taylor Swift was in Australia during February this year, so it seems appropriate to reference her lyrics in my annual IWD essay. In these powerful verses from Taylor Swift’s song “You Need to Calm Down,” she addresses the issue of women being pitted against each other and encourages unity and solidarity among women.

On International Women’s Day, it is important to reflect on the progress that has been made towards gender equality and to acknowledge the work that still needs to be done to achieve true equality for all women around the world.

The line “Comparing all the girls who are killing it” speaks to the harmful habit of society to pit women against each other, as if there is only room for one woman to succeed or be celebrated at a time. This plays into the idea of scarcity mentality, where women are made to believe that they must compete with one another for limited opportunities and resources. However, as Taylor Swift points out, “we all know now, we all got crowns.” Each woman is unique and deserving of success and recognition in her own right. When we uplift and support each other, women can collectively rise and break down the barriers that hold them back.

The call to “calm down” is a reminder to let go of the need to tear each other down and instead focus on building each other up. It is a call for unity and understanding, recognising that women are stronger together and can achieve great things when they stand in solidarity with one another. On International Women’s Day, it is important to celebrate the achievements of women and to continue to advocate for gender equality in all aspects of society. The IWD 2024 theme “Inspire Inclusion” initially put some of our team offside because it sounded like it was again asking women to do the majority of the work to make equality happen (and in fact we do prefer the UN’s theme of ‘Count her in: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.’). However, in the context of women inspiring women there’s no ‘bad blood’ and we’re sending a virtual hand heart out to all of you (but we’re not going to post for a photo in that post for this year). 

As we reflect on Taylor Swift’s words and the message of unity and empowerment she conveys in this verse, let us remember that the fight for equality and equity is ongoing and that each of us has a role to play in creating a more just and inclusive world for all women. Let us support and uplift each other, recognising the power and potential that lies in our collective strength. Together, we can continue to break down barriers and create a more equal and inclusive world for women everywhere.