International Women’s Day 2018

Today the world is celebrating International Women’s Day. Women have been at the front of so many stories as victims in the past year with the #metoo and #timesup campaigns, the fight for equal pay and, more recently, reports of charity workers taking advantage of vulnerable women at times of crisis. It is madness that in 2018  there is still so much sexual discrimination in the workforce and that there are still companies that are yet to implement policies to ensure women are protected from their male colleagues.

IWD18

Gender equality at Third Door

I run Third Door which is the UK’s first coworking space with an onsite nursery. We are based in London, SW18 and have been running for the past 8 years. I am so proud to say that we have created a working environment in our Workhub where both genders work together with mutual respect. To date, in the eight years we have been running the business, we have not had any inappropriate behaviour between our members or our staff. This is most likely due to the culture and values that we promote and uphold – especially ‘respect’ for everyone from the babies and children in the nursery to our parents, members, staff, resources and environment.

Parenting Parity

I started the Third Door with my husband eight years ago and we have now have three primary aged children. We run our household together – I manage Third Door whilst my husband focuses on his own career. We are stumbling through life on an equal footing but we both parent our three children together. Yesterday, our eldest was home sick and my husband stayed and looked after her, today I am working from home to be near her. We have two daughters and a son. There is no difference in how they are being brought up in our household as they see both parents working and doing household chores and the school pick up and drop offs.

Mutual Respect

The photo accompanying this blog is of my father holding me when I was about two years old. The reason I have shown a photo of him is that, without men respecting women and supporting women, we will continue fighting for women’s rights for many more decades. My father brought in the household income and worked seven days a week running his business whilst my mother ran the house and pretty much brought up myself and my two sisters with little input from my dad. Their roles in the household were very clear-cut but equal in the sense that they worked as a team and had mutual respect. There was never any question in our home that just because we were ‘females’ that we would not have an education or work one day.

My mother’s mother died in 1954 when my mother was only four years old. My grandfather brought up his five children as a single father in a village in Pakistan in the 50’s and 60’s. This was not the norm back then and he was piled with pressure to remarry but he refused as he only wanted the children to experience love and happiness.

Equality Needs Women and Men

My point is that we have to celebrate International Women’s Day and remember that the majority of women out there, despite making up 50% of the population, do not have equality at home or in the workforce. This will only change by working with men who already have respect for women, normalising their behaviour and only accepting this behaviour. We cannot have equality between the sexes without input from men and we need to celebrate more cases of men that have supported the empowerment of women at home and work.

James Brown lyrics are profound in the song, ‘It’s Man’s World’:  ‘But it would be nothing, nothing Without a woman or a girl’ but equally, ‘it would be nothing, nothing without a man or a boy’.