International Women's Day, How Far Equality Has Come

International Women's Day 

International Women’s Day. A time to celebrate the progress that has been made in equality and women’s rights. From the grim days of the middle ages, where women were lucky if they were sold off at 14. To then be a pawn in a large game of politics and machinations and if not, relegated to back breaking labour in the fields, servitude to the household and child rearing. To the time of the suffragettes who fought for the right to vote. There are countless examples of women making huge sacrifices to improve the lives and status of women, including Emily Davison who laid down her life and became a martyr to the cause, leading to women being granted the vote in 1918.

Today we are reflecting on how women have changed the world and how their status in society has evolved over the past centuries. We could now be living in a very different world without the bravery of some extremely courageous women.

The Renaissance

Moving on from the dark times of the middle ages, came the renaissance. Conditions for women were still not markedly better. Women had no political rights and were still legally considered subjects to their husbands and fathers. This is not to say that women did not have the ability to subtly influence those around them. Famous figures such as Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI had a significant impact on the political landscape of Italy and Naples. Many famous female artists appeared in this time of flourishing artistic licence. Names such as Sofonisba Anguissola and Levina Teerlinc being the most prominent of their time. The accomplishments of these women in this male-dominated period are not to be underestimated and are testament to their talent and ambition.

The Age of Enlightenment

The age of enlightenment followed the renaissance, bringing with it a new perspective on the world. No longer hounded by religious dogma the thinking of the time took on a more logical, scientific outlook. This meant traditional gender roles espoused by the church and other faiths were questioned. Women started to be seen as individuals who could contribute to society in roles other than heads of the household or child bearers.

Great examples of this include Florence Nightingale, a pioneer in new nursing techniques and arguably one of the founders of modern nursing and hygiene practices. Or the British writer Mary Woolstonecraft, a famous author and credited as one of the earliest proponents of feminism. Alongside lesser known women who made significant contributions to the social and technological development of mankind. Anne Conway, alongside famous thinkers, Issac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, led the development of calculus. Caroline Herschel was the first woman to discover a comet and awarded a scientific salary by King George III.

The 18th-19th Centuries

This then brings us to the late 18th/ early 19th centuries. Women started to take on roles that would previously have been occupied solely by men. The beginning of World War I created a huge demand for workers in munitions factories. With significant numbers of the male labour force serving on the front-lines, women were needed to step into the breach and fill a wide range of roles previously unavailable to them. Women were empowered and finally able to contribute fully to the society in which they lived.

The social developments that arose from the fall in the male population due to the World Wars were massive. Women could no longer rely on the traditional methods to sustain a lifestyle. They had to work to support themselves. This brought with it a new-found independence that allowed women to purchase their own houses, travel the world freely (as they were now financially able to) and in general become much less dependent on men.

In the latter half of the 20th century the changing work roles became even more drastic; women started to create their own businesses, became CEOs and leaders in their fields. In the 21st century, the social standing of women in all aspects of life is almost unrecognisable to that of 500 years ago. Now equal to men, women can access the same opportunities and success.

Women in business today

Statistics of women in business

Today

However, this isn’t to say that everything is perfect and the battle for gender equality is over. As has been recently highlighted by the #Metoo movement. Women still face harrassment in the workplace, especially by those in position of authority. Not only is this behaviour unacceptable but it demeans women at a base level and limits their progression in professional careers. The best known case being that of Harvey Weinstein.

Incidents such as these should not overshadow the achievements of women over the centuries. Sadly, many women throughout history had their ideas and contributions stolen and attributed to others.

At Khaos HQ we welcome everyone equally. We pride ourselves on having a diverse workforce. Not only should people be judged on their merits, but they should have every chance to excel at work. On the back of this, we are hosting an event centred around women working in technology and business. ‘Empowering Women Powering Business’ will be hosted at Stubton hall, Lincolnshire on the 6th of June 2018 between 10am- 2pm. We invite all women who wish to learn more about technology and how it can support success in business to attend. There will be guest speakers and workshops available, covering a range of topics to equip you for success in the upcoming year and beyond.

We hope to see you soon! You can reserve your place now just click here.

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