International Women’s Day IWD is taking place this Sunday (8th March).
As you may know, it’s an annual event that not only celebrates the achievements of women from all around the world, but also focusses on empowering women and accelerating gender equality.
It provides a time of reflection on how far we have come in fighting for gender parity, and realisation on how much still needs to be done.
The theme of IWD this year is #EachforEqual, which has been drawn from the idea of 'Collective Individualism'. We are all parts of a whole, and how we behave and think individually is how we can challenge stereotypes and help create a gender equal society.
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." Gloria Steinem - world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist.
In theatre we have a long way to go still – this article from earlier this year shows just how far however, with the amazing efforts and influence from both Equity and ERA50:50, and their band of loyal and celebrity supporters; this gap is beginning to close.
We have some amazing Artistic Directors at the helm of UK theatre shaking it up, including Lynette Linton at Bush Theatre, and Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner at Paines Plough.
Theatres including The National Theatre, plus theatre companies, such as The Play’s The Thing, are ensuring they are offering more opportunities to women. We will be focussing on productions by female playwrights and ensuring we reach 50:50 with the plays we produce.
You may have seen recently the headline in the Telegraph: ‘More women than men pen National Theatre plays after gender target set' - go The National! Let’s hope this continues and more theatres follow suit.
There are great things happening within our industry, but we need to challenge more to get the results we want.
IWD will enable us to send a powerful message that all women are striving to live in an equal world and get the opportunities that we deserve. But this message shouldn’t end when IWD ends. It needs to continue - every single day.