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“On International Women’s Day, ‘press for progress’ any way you can,” says Tina Freed.

“On International Women’s Day, ‘press for progress’ any way you can,” says Tina Freed.

Tina.Freed / 02 Mar 2018

It’s International Women’s Day and its slogan this year is ‘Press for Progress’.  Tina Freed encourages you to stand up and be counted and do your bit to press for progress, however large or small.  What could you do?  

How many times a day do we use the word ‘press’ or simply press something?  It’s such a common thing to do that we don’t even think about it – pressing the snooze button on the alarm, buttons in lifts, Oyster cards against tube station barriers, keys on a smartphone … the list really is endless.

But ‘press’ can mean something much less functional.  If you type ‘press’ into Google, after the day-to-day definitions that we’ve already covered, these meanings appear: 

  •  move in a specified direction by pushing.
    • "the mob was still pressing forward"
  • (of an enemy or opponent) attack persistently and fiercely.*
    • "their enemies pressed in on all sides"
  • continue in one's action.
    • "he stubbornly pressed on with his work"

These examples suggest a very different type of press – this is pressing to achieve something greater than a few extra minutes’ sleep or access to the tube.  And that’s what International Women’s Day is all about this year, Press for Progress.

This is the year of the woman and we may only be several weeks into 2018, but already, women, and movements that are ‘pressing for progress’ have been dominating the headlines:

The tide is shifting – look at the government’s demands for gender pay gap reporting -  but it isn’t going to happen overnight.  We must continue to drive change and ‘move in a … direction by pushing.’

At E2W, our mission is twofold: to help women start, continue or return to their careers in financial services; to help institutions address the gender diversity issue: turning gender recruitment aspirations into achievable targets, ensuring that institutions have a 50/50 man/woman ratio by 2020. 

We strive towards our mission in many ways and if you read our posts you’ll know about our support of the Women in Finance Charter and of the Treasury Select Committee’s Women in Finance inquiry (to which we have submitted evidence), and also how we support our members with their career aspirations.  Even our blog posts aim to provoke thought and, ultimately, action within HR and recruitment departments throughout the City and beyond.

I would love it if you could help us to help you by becoming an E2W member but that’s not what this post is about.  

On International Women’s Day, I just want to urge you to play your part, large or small, to ‘press for progress’, stand up and be counted.  You don’t have to lead a protest on Parliament if that’s not your thing; you could mentor a junior woman within your organisation and make her see that career progression is possible and the steps she needs to take; you could ensure that you have a balanced, gender-diverse list of candidates when interviewing for a role; simply, support a group that’s driving change for women and share its messages.

Small steps can lead to greater strides in progress overall.  To return to the definition, let’s move in the direction of change by pushing for progress.  Will you join me?  

* we’re certainly not advocating that anyone attacks anyone! 

Tina Freed is co-founder, chairperson & COO of E2W with 25 years’ experience of working in financial services.  

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