Audit Wales celebrates International Women's Day

08 March 2021
  • Today marks International Women’s Day, a global event to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women. The celebration is also a chance to highlight the inequalities women are still facing and how people can get involved to bring about change. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. By challenging the gender bias we face and see we are actively and positively participating in the change we want to see for a more inclusive world.

    To raise awareness of gender bias and inequality, we arranged an internal lunch and learn session to discuss just some of the inequalities women face. For international Women’s Day, we’d like to share some of the research women across Audit Wales produced that highlight gender bias.

    What is gender bias?

    Gender bias encompasses so much more than the gender pay gap which continues to favour men and was 11.6% in 2020 across Wales [opens in new window]. To put it another way, the median hourly pay for men was £13.28 compared to £11.74 for women.

    Gender bias:

    • Can lead to NHS and other public services incurring avoidable costs
    • Creates unfairness over who benefits from these services
    • Endangers women’s mental and physical health
    • Impacts on a woman’s present and future earnings and her pension
    • Impacts on a girl’s education and career choices

    As an organisation, we still have more to do to reduce our own gender pay gap and are always looking for ways to improve. In December 2020, we released our own Equality report [opens in new window] which outlines our commitments to providing a work environment that values the diversity of all people.

    How are we getting involved with International Women’s Day?

    Part of our internal discussions around gender bias and how we can improve led to some colleagues doing further research into the issue. Our Data Analytics Officer, Rachel Brown, has produced research on how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the female workforce. You can find her research in the blog section of our website [opens in new window].

    How can you get involved?

    To find out more about International Women’s Day and how to get involved, visit the International Women’s Day website [opens in new window]. Their website contains a vast number of resources on the history of International Women’s Day (did you know the first gathering was in 1911?) and how people can get involved.  

    Gender bias is not a ‘women’s issue’ – it needs men and women to do our part to tackle it. The HeForShe movement [opens in new window] encourages men to commit to take action for a gender equal world.

    As individuals and organisations there is much we can do to address gender bias including:

    • Ask for women's opinions
    • Recognise gender bias and attempt to eliminate it
    • Request gender breakdown on research data and look for unconscious bias
    • Recognise and reduce bias in recruitment and staff retention 
    • Vote/lobby for gender data collection
    • Avoid gender nuanced terms like 'bossy’and ‘shrill’
    • Support ‘all women’ shortlists and schemes designed to target women to aid increasing representation

    Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day and #ChooseToChallenge.