International Women’s Day

International Women's Day

It’s International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8th March 2023 so we thought we’d dedicate this article to employing women.

International Women’s Day 2023 is all about embracing equity and making it a ‘must-have’. All of us, whatever our employment status, can call out on discrimination, and include others. As an employer, you have a vital role to play in this, and can set the scene in your own organisations, not just because you must, but because, well, why wouldn’t you?

International Women’s Day 2023 is all about embracing equity and making it a ‘must-have’. All of us, whatever our employment status, can call out on discrimination, and include others. As an employer, you have a vital role to play in this, and can set the scene in your own organisations, not just because you must, but because, well, why wouldn’t you?

Celebrating women shouldn’t just happen on IWD, but something we do every day, as a matter of course without even thinking about it. Supporting, celebrating achievements and treating people in general equally should be happening every single day. I want both my children to grow up in a world where they feel free to be themselves, to do what they want with their lives without fear of recrimination or discrimination.

What’s the difference between equality and equity? Leadership and inclusion specialist and former Criminal Barrister, Sharon Amesu clarifies in this video.

When making decisions as an employer, it’s important to take individual backgrounds, needs and views into account. This can be done quite easily through your recruitment process, and during the employment relationship, by simply communication with your employees. Whether via a formal review process, or simply listening to their views and comments by creating an open, and transparent working environment.

If you’re looking to take on your first female employee, check out our our Simple Steps Toolkit. We are offering 10% off all female-led business owners for the month of March.

More videos on how you can #embraceequity are available here.

To get involved wherever you are in the world, take a look at the events on the IWD website.


Why wouldn’t you employ women?

There are obviously many reasons why employing women can be beneficial for your business, but here’s a few to get you started:

      1. Diverse perspectives: Women bring unique perspectives and experiences to the workplace. This diversity can help companies better understand and serve their clients or customers, as well as bring fresh ideas and approaches to problem-solving.

      1. Talent pool: By recruiting and retaining women, companies have access to a wider talent pool, increasing the chances of finding the right person for the job.

      1. Improved performance: Studies have shown, companies with a higher percentage of women in leadership roles tend to perform better financially. Women can also bring important skills to the workplace, such as empathy, collaboration, and communication. See the McKinsey & Company 2020 report and research by Forbes.

      1. Legal reasons:

      1. Corporate social responsibility (CSR): Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace refers to creating a work environment that is inclusive of people from different backgrounds, which includes gender. A diverse workforce can bring many benefits, including improved innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.

    Promoting diversity at work is considered a key aspect of corporate social responsibility for several reasons. It is important to reflect the diversity of the communities you serve and helps to attract and retain top talent. Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is fundamental aspect of treating employees with dignity and respect, regardless of their background.



    Why would someone (i.e. a woman) want to work for you?

    Look at your recruitment practices – is the work interesting and varied? How are your job advertisements worded – are they inclusive? Consider where you advertised – are adverts reaching the wider market to include women?

    Are you flexible? In 2023, and especially since the pandemic, people are looking for more than a job – they want variety. They’re looking at the whole organisation and what it stands for, they want benefits and they want, and need, flexibility. Have you considered different ways in which roles can be carried out, or are you still insisting someone sit in an office to make sales calls?

    Give us a call to discuss ways in which you can ensure your organisation that people are falling over themselves to work for.


    Are you a family-friendly employer?

    60% of professional women leave their employer within a year of returning after maternity leave. 60%.

    Every year 54,000 new mums feel forced to leave their jobs. Looking at the facts, this doesn’t make sense to good business, does it?

    I’m not going to go into detail on why childcare costs affect women more than men, a simple internet search will give you all the data you need to back that up.

    Childcare costs are now an issue more so than ever. Charity Pregnant then Screwed report that one in four parents (who use formal childcare) report the cost is more than 75% of take home pay and one in five report their childcare costs are more than half their household income and 11% are using debt to cover these costs.

    How flexible can you be in terms of working hours? Can you offer childcare vouchers to help with the cost of childcare? What are your policies on time off?

    Being a family friendly employer isn’t just about complying with employment legislation but going that extra mile and being supportive of parents.


    Mind the gap…

    The Equal Pay Act is over 50 years old, and yet, there is still disparity in pay. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that in April 2021 the gender pay gap was 7.9% and that higher earners experience a larger pay difference in hourly pay between males and females and is higher in England than Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Employees who believe they are not paid equally to male counterparts for doing the same or similar work should raise this with their employer. If it’s still not resolved, the internal grievance procedures should be used to take the matter further. Then ultimately, employment tribunal procedures under the Act for an equal pay or discrimination claim.

    Why wouldn’t you pay your female employees the same as a man?


    Health and safety

    I am hoping everyone knows there are employer health and safety obligations for employees, in particular those who are pregnant or new mothers. More information and guidance is available from the HSE.      

    What about the wider considerations for employing women? Sanitary disposal for example.

    Employers must provide toilets and washbasins for men and women, and these should be separate where possible. They must also provide somewhere to dispose of sanitary dressings. Temporary worksites should have flushing toilets, running water and (HSE). There are lots of ways to meet this requirement, and good employers

    You must also consider those with disability-related needs.

    What does your media say about you?

    What does your signage around your premises, on social media or on your website say about you? Are you inclusive?

    If you’re looking to recruit, one of the first places prospective candidates will look is your website and your social media feeds. What language do you use? What does the imagery you display say about you as an employer? It’s worth taking a really good look at anything you display, both physically and digitally and asking the opinion of others to ensure you’re coming across as the employer you want to be and that it reflects your brand.



    When was the last time you reviewed all your documentation. I’m talking employment contracts, HR-related policies, health and safety policies, work instructions. If these have not been looked at for a while, it’s likely they’re out of date and quite possibly discriminative if they refer to him/he, but also don’t make you a very attractive employer in terms of equality, equity, and diversity. It’s worth reviewing these at least annually – more often if you’re an industry where things change rapidly – to ensure they’re compliant, and reflect what you do in practice.

    It’s important your company documents work for you, rather than against you, and most working practices are fluid, changing with customer demand, or to reflect changes in technology.

    Pregnancy and maternity

    There is massive debate over the use of the term ‘mother’ and ‘women’ in this context. The law, however, refers to pregnant employees and mothers and therefore we will use that term within this blog. Pregnant employees have additional protection and legal rights in the workplace:

        • paid time for antenatal care (seeing their midwife, attending scans, for example)

        • maternity leave

        • maternity pay (or maternity allowance if they are not eligible for statutory maternity pay)

        • protection against discrimination or dismissal.

      More information about these rights can be found on

      The employer has certain health and safety obligations (e.g. carrying out a risk assessment) once they are aware their employee is pregnant. See or for more information.

      Your ‘take home tips’

      Think about the type of organisation and employer you want to be. If it’s one that embraces diversity, treats people fairly and challenges discrimination, then ensure your policies, people and practices reflect this.

          1. Policies:
                1. Have robust policies in place – ensure they are clear, reflect what you do and that everyone knows about them!

                1. Review them regularly – just the act of reviewing policies with this article in mind can help you weed out any terms or practices that are potentially discriminatory.

                1. Be transparent about what you pay people. Using pay scales is a great way of doing this.

            1. Review what you pay your employees and your pay policies (or introduce one if you don’t have one already). Note that you report your gender pay gap data if your organisation has 250 or more employees on a specific date each year.

            1. Education:
                  1. make sure you know your obligations as an employer – ignorance is no excuse!

                  1. educate your managers and employees in equity, equality and diversity, what your expectations are and how to handle complaints

                  1. Ensure you have a robust processes in place, in recruitment as well as for existing employees. This includes the conduct you expect, the implications of misconduct or breach of rules and how employees can raise genuine concerns.

             If you’re concerned your business may not be taking any form of discrimination seriously, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

            Note: There is massive debate over the use of the term ‘mother’ and ‘woman’ in this context. Current legislation, however, refers to woman, so we use that term.

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