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Challenge to Change – celebrating women’s day to call out gender bias and inequality

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Challenge to Change – celebrating women’s day to call out gender bias and inequality

In August 1910 at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, a woman called Clara Zetkin proposed a day dedicated to women as a strategy to promote equality and suffrage. The following year, International Women’s Day was marked in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The first time the 8th of March became a significant date was in 1914 when in both London and Germany women marched in support of women’s suffrage.

 

On the same day in 1917, women textile workers took to the streets in Petrograd, Russia today’s St. Petersburg.

The 8th of March was officially adopted as International Women’s Day in 1975 when the United Nations started celebrating the event. In 1996, the day was marked with the theme, ‘Celebrating the Past Planning for the Future’ and since then a different theme was assigned every year.

 

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #choosetochallenge. It’s a campaign designed to raise awareness on gender bias and inequality. Everyone is invited to do something concrete to shed light on how women are disadvantaged in so many ways. Not just at work and in the home but also through the rhetoric which allows certain beliefs and behaviours to continue. We all have a duty through our actions and words to smash this bias and contribute to creating an equal and just world.

Purple, green and white were the colours adopted by the suffragettes and they are the colours chosen for International Women’s Day too. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green is for hope and white represents purity (a controversial point).

ESE’s female staff makes up around 55% of the complement. We would like to give visibility and a voice to these wonderful women whose dedication to the work they do contributes to the smooth running and success of the school as well as all the services ESE provides.

 

The following are the thoughts of some of our female staff on International Women’s Day. Who do you recognise? Who do you agree or disagree with? Let us know in the comments.

Who are you outside ESE?

I’m married and a mum of three kids. I love reading, watching movies and meeting up with friends at weekends.

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

That I’m extremely shy until I really get to know a person.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Women have always had to work hard for recognition, so on this day we get to celebrate that.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

I hope that women help each other reach their full potential and that we have more successful female leaders in the future.

Who are you outside ESE?

I am myself apart from the roles I hold, wife, mother, grandmother, woman.

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

Besides my hobbies, I think I am an open book.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Perhaps a day when women can have some recognition.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

That women will be give their true value as equals and intelligent human beings.

Who are you outside ESE?

Wife, mother, grandmother

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

I can be very reserved and somewhat shy.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

More recognition for women who are not appreciated in what they do.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

Respect and understanding.

Who are you outside ESE?

A dedicated mother, a faithful friend and a loud grouch (I’m told)

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

I’m insecure

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A reminder of women’s value, contributions and massive importance in society.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

That women will attain position of authority not based on equality of number, gender or favour but based on women’s intelligence, expertise and capability.

Who are you outside ESE?

A lover of fine things – art, travel, theatre, food and great company!

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

I’m a nerd at heart!

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I celebrate all the great women in my life. Plus, sometimes, we get cake!

What are your hopes for the future of women?

Women will be truly equal to men in the work and business environment and not discriminated by gender.

Who are you outside ESE?

Mother, trekker, reader & movie enthusiast

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

I am a skydiver.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Defence of women rights

What are your hopes for the future of women?

Equality in terms of rights, salary among others

Who are you outside ESE?

A mother, a wife and a person who loves to keep active.

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

My colleagues call me a snake!

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A day to reflect and admire the achievements and success of women in my life and across the globe.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

Women understand and support each other better to create an awesome and an incredible world.

European School of English Malta
Amanda De Gabriele – Academic Closed Group coordinator

Who are you outside ESE?

A mother, a wife and a person who loves to travel and spend time in nature.

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

I freak out when I see a cockroach.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Women’s day is making women’s voices heard every day because it is still a man’s world.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

I hope that future women won’t be afraid to go against the flow if they believe it’s right and except nothing less than what they are worth.

Who are you outside ESE?

A mother, wife and doing everything that has to be done. I also love to socialise.

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

I can call two capital cities my home: London, where I was born and Valletta, where I was raised.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day has no particular meaning to me as I do not see the need for any woman, in this day and age, to have a particular  date to celebrate her empowerment.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

I hope that, in the near future, more women will have more important roles in managerial positions particularly in the pollical arena. I believe that women will have a stronger voice to contribute which will help shape a fairer and more equal society.

Who are you outside ESE?

A mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, an animal lover.

What is the one thing not many people know about you?

I have chosen to follow a plant based, cruelty-free lifestyle.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s the time to remember and reflect on the many achievements women have achieved and to remember the sacrifice many women have paid.

What are your hopes for the future of women?

I hope that all women are free to be the person they want to be through education, respect and equal opportunities. I hope women are no longer used as if they were mere possessions to discard when no longer needed. I hope that men and women work hard to achieve this together.

What about the men? 

Surely they have an important role to play too. On this day, men are encouraged to fight the good fight alongside women in saying no the gender bias and inequality.

What will you be doing on this day? What are the traditions for the 8th of March in your countries?

Focus on Fluency
  • Suffrage (n.) – the right to vote in political elections
  • Campaign (n.) – an organised action to achieve a goal
  • Awareness (n.) – knowledge of a fact or a situation
  • Gender bias (n.) – prejudice against men or women
  • Rhetoric (n.) – language which is not sincere or meaningful which is used to persuade people to believe something or convince people to do something
  • Just (adj.) – right and fair
  • Suffragettes (n. pl.) – women fighting for the right to vote through protest and demonstrations
  • Justice (n.) – the quality of being right and fair
  • Dignity (n.) – the quality of pride, self-respect, honour and respect

About the Author

image of author
Michela Formosa
Director of Studies

Michela Formosa has been the Director of Studies at ESE since 2009 and has been active in the industry for the past 18 years both as a teacher and a teacher trainer. In addition, she was a speaker at the ELT Conferences in Malta as well as the Eaquals Conference in Malaga in 2015. In October 2015, Michela received the Inspiring ELT Professional Award 2015 at the 4th Malta ELT Conference.

ESE Malta

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