Yes. Started by the Suffragettes, the first IWD was celebrated in 1911. Each year there’s a theme, and this year’s is #PressforProgress. Last year individuals were encouraged to #BeBoldForChange, and the year before that organisations were urged to #PledgeforParity.
Has this got anything to do with the #MeToo hashtag?
Not really, but it’s good that you’ve noticed. Global activism for women’s equality is a hot topic at the moment because of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, but other things have also pushed the issue to the fore, like the findings from the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Pay Gay.
Gender pay parity is over 200 years away.
There’s more. According to another more recent report on women in hospitality, travel and leisure by PwC, gender diversity is at its lowest in pub and restaurant businesses. Way behind other companies in hospitality. And representation of women in such businesses gets even lower when you take the HR workers out of the equation. All the men have the top jobs, essentially.
Well, that’s depressing.
Quite. This International Women’s Day, Old Spitalfields Market is collaborating with Ladies of Restaurants to hold a series of talks offering insight into women’s achievement in the workplace.
Ladies of Restaurants?
It’s a collective of women who in work in hospitality in the UK. It is run by Natalia Ribbe (Eighty Six List) and Libby Andrews (Pho), and was set up to help women in the industry meet other women for support, advice or a glass of wine. It now has over 500 members from all areas of the industry: front of house, back of house, marketing, PR and wine.
What are the talks about?
The talks will include 'I can't go for that’, which will be an open discussion on battling sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace, 'Greed, for lack of a better word, is good’, which will at how women can secure their dream salaries and ‘I’m kind of a big deal’ on the pressures of trying to "have it all".
OK. Do the speakers actually know what they’re talking about?
Well, the line-up speaks for itself. Key industry players leading the talks include Emma Reynolds, the owner of Tonkotsu; Olivia Immesi, the general manager of Ace Hotel Shoreditch; Nicole Ferris, managing director of Climpson Coffee; Niamh Scott-Szyzmczyk, general manager of Hawksmoor Guildhall; and Zan Kaufman, founder of Bleecker Burger.
Fair enough. How much will it cost? I suppose those ladies have to make up the pay gap somehow…
It’s free, you cheeky git. 30 Euston Square is also seizing the opportunity to put women in the industry in the spotlight, and is celebrating 100 years since the Representation of the People act was passed by hosting a ‘Year of the Woman’ dinner on 13 March. It will preview the restaurant’s new plant-based menu, in the form of a five-course meal, and general manager Yvette Chatwin will lead a talk with guest speakers on topical items involving women in hospitality.
Anything else going on?
STK steakhouse is encouraging women to ‘embrace girl power’, and ‘get the girls together’ to celebrate the achievements of women around the world with 50% off everything on 8 March… providing you’re a woman.
Isn’t STK the one that had those adverts?
Yes, the ‘not your daddy’s steakhouse’ one with the woman in the short dress and the high heels. But look, it’s 2018. Let’s not dwell on the past. And let’s face it, with the pay gap not set to close for another 200 years, women could do with all the half price steak they can get.