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Period Leave - A Lazy Approach to Women's Challenges

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8th to honour women’s achievements and promote gender equality. However, the way many companies observe this day has become predictable and, dare I say, lazy.

It's become an annual tradition for companies to churn out generic social media posts, throw together hastily planned events or campaigns, and even launch limited-edition products to cash in on the occasion. While these efforts may seem well-intentioned, they often fall short of truly honouring women, their challenges, and their contributions to society.

One of the most common and problematic approaches taken by companies is to use Women's Day as an opportunity to market products, often with slogans like "Empowering women one lipstick at a time" or "Celebrate Women's Day with our limited-edition products." This approach reduces women's empowerment to consumerism and reinforces harmful stereotypes about femininity.

Another common tactic is for companies to host events or panels focusing on women's issues without including actual women in the conversation. These panels are often dominated by successful women speakers who talk about what they think women need to break the glass ceiling rather than actually listening to their needs. Most women's challenges are not related to breaking any ceiling.

Additionally, many companies choose to celebrate Women's Day by highlighting women who have achieved success within their own organisations. While this is a worthy cause, it often falls short of actually addressing the systemic issues that prevent women from achieving equality in the first place.

Rather than using Women's Day as a marketing ploy or a way to pat themselves on the back, companies should take a more active role in promoting gender equality year-round. This could mean the implementation of social KPIs (not just financial ones) aimed at helping disadvantaged women.

Here are some that could make up a certain % of your workforce and make a difference in society. Hire:

  • Hire women who are the main breadwinners in the family.

  • Single mothers with no work experience because the husband/partner used to care for things, but this is no longer an option.

  • Women who run away from abusive relationships and have to start again at the age of 40+ with no work experience.

  • Homeless women who want to get back on track, but nobody is giving them a chance.

  • Young women who have just been released from social care into the big world without knowing how to operate in it. They can easily end up in prostitution, alcohol or drug addiction. Hiring them, you can help prevent this.

  • Women with criminal records want to restart life and leave bad decisions in the past.

  • Women with no work experience find it difficult to land a job.

  • Women wanting to return to work after maternity leave or a longer career break.

To truly honour women on International Women's Day, companies must move beyond tokenistic gestures and take real action to promote gender equality. This means making meaningful changes within their own organisations and supporting initiatives that work towards gender equality on a broader scale. Women's Day should remind companies that they have a responsibility to be proactive in fighting for gender equality, not just on one day of the year but every day and not with a period leave policy. That is a lazy approach to women's challenges.

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