Ali Hughes, Project Leader for Progress Lifeline at Progress Housing Group, discusses why International Women's Day this year is more important than ever.

International Women's Day, for me, is something to be celebrated and a time to take stock of our achievements in both our personal and professional lives. It's also a great time to share some positive and inspiring stories - as well as challenging stereotypes and highlighting gender bias and discrimination.

So, for International Women's Day this year, I'd like to highlight some interesting statistics and stories. The first two links draw attention to the challenges being faced by women stemming from the impact of COVID-19, and the final article provides an account from former F1 Williams boss Claire Williams about how the use of Zoom meetings (implemented during the pandemic for F1 meetings) presented an opportunity for her to have more of a voice as the only woman attending, instead of feeling that her voice was being "drowned out".

A study has shown that mothers are 47% more likely to have lost their job during the pandemic.

A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the UCL institute of education found that mothers were:

• 23% more likely than fathers to have temporarily or permanently lost their jobs during the crisis
• 47% more likely to have permanently lost their job or quit, and
• 14% more likely to have been furloughed.
Read the report by clicking here (link takes you to an article on the Guardian website)


Compulsory gender pay gap reporting was suspended due to the pandemic

At a time when it’s probably most vitally needed to represent the number of women who will lose their jobs due to caring responsibilities during the pandemic, gender pay gap reporting was suspended. Despite not being required to, the Group is still going ahead with publishing our gender pay gap report, which, for me, is a big positive for Progress!

Click here to read our latest gender pay gap report on our website.

Read about gender pay gap reporting being suspended by clicking here to visit Personnel Today and here to read an article by global HR firm Lewis Silkin.


Unconscious bias, representation and being the only female voice in the room

This next article stood out to me because of the subtle unconscious biases that women face every day - which we all do but hopefully we are all becoming more aware of. The article focuses on Claire Williams (former Williams boss – Formula 1) who talks about being the only woman in the room at F1 meetings and how Zoom helped her have a voice amongst men.

Read the article 'How Zoom helped change Formula 1 forever', on Motorsport.com by clicking here.