The United Nations Women theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is “Think Equal, Build Smart, and Innovate for Change”.

It is a fitting theme to help put innovation by women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality.  Every year we have this opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of women in our city.  It helps us stop for a minute and think about those women in our family, community and city who have contributed to our lives in a positive way.  One or more individuals who were catalyst or collectively contributed towards positive change for gender parity and equality in our city.

Achieving gender-equal in every area requires social innovations and collaboration that works for both women and men. We should look at every department in our councils, schools, universities and businesses, and develop initiatives to promote gender equality. Notably, we should also ensure women from Black and Minority Ethnic groups are not forgotten but represented when looking at gender equality.  When this ethos is embedded in an organisation we will see a more equitable society.

By building smart and using innovative teaching models in our classrooms can help inspire our girls and future women.  I am proud to be in a Labour administration led by Mayor Joe Anderson that kept children’s centres open. Despite the severe cuts imposed by central government, we continue to provide childcare that supports mothers with young children, enabling women to access and continue in further education and technology. I believe this is important if we are serious about addressing gender equality.

It should be everyone’s goal to work to develop better access to technology which enables women in innovation – building smart solutions that go beyond acknowledging the gender gaps and actively implementing strategies to address inequality.  Small steps towards making sure women’s and girls’ needs and experiences are integrated at the very inception of technology and innovation can narrow the inequality gap.

This International Women’s Day, I want to thank all the women in the city, in my family and my friends who have contributed towards me being a woman in politics and science. Every day we should thank that special women in our lives  -mums, sisters, wives, girlfriends, daughters, and friends – for always being there for us, beside us.  Let’s support our women, so our daughters and sons will have a positive role model.


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