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This International Women’s Day, Let’s Inspire Inclusion for All

By 5th March 2024June 6th, 2024No Comments
ANimated image of women of different ethnicities with the words International Women's Day 8 March written beside them
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By Marie Duffy, PR & Communications Officer, Mental Health Ireland

International Women’s Day is on March 8th and this year’s theme is ‘Let’s inspire inclusion’. With well over a century of history and change, the first International Women’s Day (IWD) was held in March 1911. It’s a day of collective global activism and celebration that gives focus to gender inequalities issues in health, the home, education, communities and in the workplace.   

Mental Health Ireland delivers workshops in workplaces all over the country on the topics of mental health and wellbeing. We believe in the importance of equality in the workplace and believe that better equity and the inclusion of all makes for better mental health outcomes.

When we support and build up women, all of society benefits. 

Research shows that women must work harder to prove they’re just as capable as men and are more likely to miss out on key promotions and raises. But why are things so unequal in the workplace for women in the workplace? Many women are more critical of themselves than men and underestimate their ability and work performance being more likely to attribute this to a lack of their own ability.[1] 

Women are more likely to be the primary care giver in the home and take on the bulk of child rearing responsibility. They may also be more susceptible to socio-economic factors that can increase stress and anxiety and other mental health challenges. Women often feel that they have to hide their emotions at work in order to be treated equally and this can add further anxiety to their situation. However, on the positive side, women may be more open to discussing mental health difficulties they face and in turn access supports earlier.  

It’s also important to break the taboo around specific topics like menstruation, and menopause and their direct connection to a woman’s physical and mental health. Mental Health Ireland has a free menopause and mental health booklet that can be downloaded for free www.bit.ly/menopauseandmentalhealth The booklet has been coproduced with people with lived experience and is an easy-to-read practical guide to menopause and mental health to support women and supporters of women. 

So how do we make the workplace a friendlier environment for women? We believe that workplaces should provide an effective workplace wellbeing strategy and have supports in place which can be tailored to each individual’s needs. Mental Health Ireland has a free workplace wellbeing E-Module for employers and leaders in the workplace which demystifies workplace wellbeing. You can learn more about the E-module here: https://bit.ly/workplaceMHI 

Addressing the relationship between mental health, workplace dynamics, and societal expectations is crucial for fostering a more supportive environment for women in the workplace. As we collectively strive for a society where mental health is prioritised, understanding and dismantling gender-based challenges is a pivotal step towards achieving true equality. 

To inspire inclusion there are things we can do: 

  • When women aren’t present, we must ask: “If not, why not?” 
  • When women are discriminated against, we must call out poor practice. 
  • When the treatment of women is not equitable, we must take action. 
  • And we must do this each time, every time. 

On this International Women’s Day, let’s not only celebrate the achievements of women but also commit ourselves to creating a world where every woman feels supported, empowered, and valued – both in and out of the workplace. Together, we can break down barriers and build a brighter, more equitable future for all.