Had a great morning out at Guidewire Software in Dublin recently when they asked me to speak on International Women’s Day. I was meant to speak for an hour and to be honest the thought of speaking solidly for an hour was more than a little terrifying (20 minutes - no problem, 60 minutes? Much tougher). I also really wanted people to learn about why we have an International Women’s Day, to understand the cultural and systemic issues facing women at work and why the conversations around the gender pay gap and flexible working are so important. But if I am honest an hour of me pounding on the pulpit didn’t seem like a very enjoyable way to spend a morning. So I decided to do a table quiz :)
It was a relaxed way of getting everyone in to groups, talking with their colleagues and most importantly learning in a fun way. Here are a few sample questions..
1. How long will it take for the worldwide gender pay gap to close?
(A) 10 years (B) 50 years (C) 100 years (D) 202 years
2. Of the 149 countries assessed by the World Economic Forum how many have a women as a Head of State?
(A) 75 (B) 43 (C ) 27 (D) 17
3. According to the World Economic Forum where does Ireland rank in terms of educational attainment for both genders?
(A ) Top (B) Middle (C ) Bottom
4. According to the World Economic Forum out of the same 149 countries where does Ireland rank in terms of female economic participation and opportunity (female participation rates & average earnings)
(A) 10th (B ) 23th (C ) 49th
8. Looking at OECD countries, in Iceland 86% of women work, in Canada it is 74% what is the percentage for Ireland?
You get the picture, serious issues which got people talking and of course the best bit is for the most part, people think issues relating to the gender pay gap and women’s participation in the labour force are much, much better than they really are.
International Women’s Day has become a week long affair packed with glamorous and inspirational events. For me personally though it ended on a domestic high around the kitchen table. That afternoon I had my oldest boy who is nearly 12 and a gang of his friends complete the table quiz. They were fed mounds of pizza and promised the playstation controller once they had finished it. They sat down to it with only the confidence 11 year olds can have and lets just say they were more than a little chastened by the end. They were completely shocked. Am hoping that learning will stay with them for life.