The Editor’s Post: Do we greet International Women's Day with silence or celebration?

One social enterprise is staying silent on International Women's Day in protest at it being highjacked by virtue signalling companies. But our WISE100 awards are cause for genuine celebration.

Today, on International Women’s Day, The Women’s Organisation has gone silent. The UK social enterprise, which supports women’s economic development, argues that International Women’s Day has been hijacked by public bodies and companies that are only virtue signalling, rather than taking proper action to create a more equal, prosperous, safe and inclusive world for women.

The Women’s Organisation’s website is filled with grim facts and figures about why some women have #NothingToCelebrate. For example, four out of five companies and organisations in Great Britain pay men more than women, and only one in three entrepreneurs in the UK is a woman, a gender gap equivalent to 1.1m missing businesses. It’s a powerful campaign that will ring true for a lot of people around the world.



Last night though, at an event hosted in the financial heart of London, a few hundred women certainly did have something to celebrate. It was Pioneers Post’s annual WISE100 awards which we run in partnership with NatWest Social & Community Capital. 

We celebrated the women in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven business who are at the top of their game in pushing forward social and environmental change. You can read about the amazing winners in our story.

Aakeen Parikh (pictured above centre) won the Equality and Empowerment Champion award. She set up her enterprise, Minazi Consulting, an engineering consultancy working to reduce inequality, while she was also studying for a PhD. As she accepted her award, she said: “I want every girl to grow up knowing that there is no limit. I really hope that with this organisation, through all of you guys, through all of us together, we continue to shatter the ceiling.”

And that is exactly what International Women’s Day should be about.


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Header photo: Three of this year's WISE100 award winners (left to right) Zareen Roohi Ahmed, Aakeen Parikh and Sarah Hopley. Photo by Shenell Ewart-Murray