Since its beginnings in 1911, International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women across the globe and marks a call to action for women’s equality.
The theme for International Women’ s Day in 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge, calling on everyone to step up and challenge gender inequality, in all forms, within our society.
To mark the day, Knowsley Council’s female cabinet members reflected on what International Women’s Day means to them and what they hope for young women growing up in the borough.
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet member for Children’s Services said “It’s nearly a century since ‘The Representation of the People Act’ granted women the right to vote, however our society remains unfairly balanced, and it is vital that we strive for equality of opportunity for everyone.
Sadly, women are still discriminated against in employment, and they often bear the brunt of caring responsibility for the elderly, the sick and the young, something that has been amplified by the current Coronavirus pandemic. And that’s why it is so important that we all get behind International Women’s day, to raise the profile of women everywhere and recognise their contribution to our society.
The young women I meet in Knowsley are so very impressive and we have a number of brilliant mentoring programmes in our schools designed to raise their confidence and aspirations, empowering them to stand up for what they believe is right. I am backing them to be the future leaders in this borough.”
Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities said “I believe that International Women’s Day is a reminder for all women to believe in themselves. We live in a time in which we have so many strong female role models in our lives to aspire to, and the list just keeps getting longer.
I am incredibly proud to represent Halewood, an area in which myself and my family grew up in and as a woman, and a mother it helps me to better understand many of the challenges our communities face. I’m lucky to be part of a team who respect and support one another, irrespective of their gender.
My advice to young women in our borough would be to remember that anything is possible. Take as many opportunities as you can to enrich your life, to grow your confidence and push your own boundaries. Never stop believing in yourself and remember to take care of yourself.”
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources said; “I attended Secondary School in the late 70’s, early 80’s, and when I think back, it was like another world, one in which it was expected of all girls to take subjects such as Home Economics and Needlework. Careers for women in fields like business or politics were rare. Thankfully, things have improved, and that kind of old-world view of education and employment is consigned to the history books where it firmly belongs! However, equality of opportunity for all, not just for women is far from being realised yet.
I think this year more than any other year, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the events of the last year and to not only celebrate women’s achievements around the world, but closer to home too. In my experience, Knowsley has always been blessed with strong women. I think if you were to ask anyone in the borough, women are often the foundation of family life, they are the ones who keep families together, often overcoming huge challenges in order to do so.
And that would be my message to young women in Knowsley; take inspiration from those women and never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough to achieve your ambitions. Work hard, be strong and believe in yourself.”