Like many of us I joined in events celebrating International Women’s Day this year. I have been considering what strategies work to bring about the changes needed, to raise awareness of the work and contributions of women in organisations, to make women feel a visible and valued part of work communities and to celebrate women’s achievements, helping to empower female staff. I am invited to speak at numerous events on these very topics so thoughts I would share some of the initiatives that these audiences really respond to, one of these being the #InspiringWomen initiative. This is based around one of the ways that we celebrate International Women’s Day at Swansea University, whilst helping to drive culture change – but it has a few twists to it too!
We wanted a way to showcase the range of successful women that are working, studying or supporting Swansea University now, or in the past. When we put out a call inviting staff across the university to nominate suitable candidates we were overwhelmed with both the scale and quality of the response. After scrutinising each nomination there was still a huge pool to draw from. So we decided that, instead of celebrating for just one day, we would run this campaign for the entire month of March and feature all of these #InspiringWomen.
Here’s the #InspiringWomen from 2017, all have wonderful stories of their contributions and achievements.
So instead of limiting this to one day of celebration on March 8th we run this campaign over four weeks. Each week a different set of women are featured, with a ‘click through’ to open up and learn more of their inspiring stories. We have used this format for three years now and it really has grabbed attention, getting very high volumes of ‘click throughs’ and people reading the stories. Other organisations have also really warmed to the idea, enjoying the celebratory nature of the campaign, the fact that it is highly effective and yet very low cost. The feedback I get is how thrilled the participants are to have their contributions recognised in this way.
I would be happy to hear of other ways to recognise and celebrate the contributions of women in the workforce, to help us prepare for IWD 2018.
hilary.lappin-scott March 15th, 2017
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