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Choose to challenge: Celebrating International Women’s Day

We kicked off our week-long celebration of International Women’s Day on Monday in session with the brilliant Brita Fernandez Schmidt, women's rights activist and author of Fears to Fierce: A Woman's Guide to Owning Her Power.


Hosted by our Managing Director, Lindsay Ratcliffe, we looked at how we can collectively Choose to Challenge inequality to continue our journey towards a gender-equal world - one that finally banishes embedded cultural norms and instead promotes diversity and inclusivity for all.


The crux of this transformation is in the ‘inpowerment’ of the people held back by such norms, which is exactly why we asked Brita to join us. As Executive Director of Women for Women International in the UK and Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships, she is and always has been a staunch campaigner for women’s rights.


As we launch our Women’s Leadership Programme to help more remarkable women become greater advocates for themselves, we’re taking a deeper look at how we can make the world work better for women by empowering and inspiring change. Let’s look at the key takeaways from Brita’s talk to see what we can all do to make a stand.

To challenge is a choice

It’s clear from this week’s throng of activity that we’ve come a long way as a society, but there’s no doubt that there’s still a long way to go. The pandemic, of course, only exacerbated challenges that were already there.


In July 2020, researchers at the University of Exeter found that women were almost twice as likely as men to lose their jobs during the crisis, threatening to worsen gender inequality in a wide range of workplaces.


From unpaid care workers (72% of whom are women) to FTSE 100 firm leaders (more of whom were called John than were women in 2015), the challenge is not even hidden in plain sight. Brita’s talk proved that it’s there for all to see and, crucially, it’s up to us all to act upon.


That’s why it’s not just a women’s fight to change the system for the better. It’s everyone’s fight, and it’s more critical than ever that men become allies to collectively stand up for what’s right. it’s becoming a little more evident that we’re heading in the right direction, but the journey is by no means over.


The connective as a collective

We’re firm believers in working together towards mutually beneficial results; we know that the ways we think and act as individuals affect the outcomes for the group. The same logic applies to achieving mutually beneficial results for society; we can only have a positive impact on cultural norms, conditions and values if we collaborate as a collective to better them.

This is the mindset driving the movement forward. It’s about both women and men taking it one conversation at a time and engaging in the kind of open discourse that exposes the societal foundations of inequality.

Those foundations clearly provide subconscious comfort to many people simply because they were already part of the society they were born into; inequality has been built by decades of status quo acceptance and, so, decades of fear of resistance.


As we heard on Monday, Brita’s mission is to help women turn that fear into fierce to break that status quo, dismantle its outdated cultural constructs and rebuild a better and brighter world for everybody.


If conflict is encountered along the way, great; it’ll carve out conversations about the fear of change we’re all born with and how it’s the only thing preventing real progress.


As Brita advocated, we can choose to overcome it because everything we need to do so already exists within us. It’s how we create environments to ignite it that needs to change.


Actions, not words...

As individuals, we can leverage our innate curiosity and self-awareness to find allies and inspire change together, both at home and at work. We can realise our collective potential to make the world work better when we work together.


As organisations, we can question ideologies, challenge stereotypes, revise processes and create environments that empower everyone in and around them.


Change isn’t an easy thing to instil, but it’s a necessary pursuit on the path towards social sustainability. 


Fears to Fierce

We’re a long way from equality as a society, but we know by now that frustration with inequality is that all-important first step. At Kin + Carta, we’re taking big steps to continually improve our D&I initiatives and highlight developments whilst shining the spotlight on our progress and challenges throughout that journey.

Now is the time to find your allies and join those who are stamping out inequality and carving out a brighter future on the march towards a gender-equal world (with a copy of Brita’s book tucked firmly into their back pockets…).


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