International Women's Day at Adidas

It was an honour to spend International Women's Day at Adidas HQ in Herzogenaurach, Germany. 

Read my interview with Maria, editor of Game Plan A where we talk about design, confidence and motherhood. I hope you enjoy it! 

I was invited to talk to the Adidas teams as part of the organisation's activities to mark International Women's Day. A strong message from me around this years International Women's Day was that I found the day itself overwhelmingly underwhelming. To be clear it’s not the platform itself I dislike: it’s a critical reminder that women remain desperately unequal to men all around the world. But it felt like the equivalent of Valentine’s Day … blatantly artificial. 

Each year IWD is given a theme so the world can better focus on a particular aspect of feminism and women’s rights. This year, the theme was #PressForProgress. The theme is in response to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report. I shared Georgina Dent's steps which are necessary to really celebrate International Women’s Day and to really #PressforProgress:

  • Conduct a pay audit and take action to close the gender pay gap
  • Get an all-male team to organise future IWD events
  • Set a target (even better be bold enough to call it a quota)
  • Boycott all-male panels
  • Check your bias
  • Do more at home (if you’re a man)
  • Do less at home (if you’re a woman)

As I was talking to one of the world’s biggest sports brands it felt important to mention that fashion brands are cashing in on the women’s day hype. This meme was created by a friend of mine Sophie Slater who runs an ethical, feminist clothing company called Bird Song. Read what she has to say over at i-D.

It's also important to highlight that Adidas is doing its part to help level the playing field for women. They have teamed up with Lean In, the organisation founded by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to encourage gender equality in the workplace. And on Equal Pay Day the organisation kicked off #20PercentCounts, the first of three public awareness campaigns to shine a light on the fact that women, on average, are paid 20 percent less than men for doing the same job.

The audience asked me some great questions about creativity, confidence, motherhood and the value of having international days.

Thank you to Susanne Knauer for recommending me, Katie McDonough for hosting me so thoughtfully and Maria Nokkonen for the interview.