Hack your commute: Take action against gender inequality

Marketing Week’s ‘Hack your commute’ series uncovers inspiring and fulfilling ways to spend your journeys to and from work that will expand your mind and broaden your horizons.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a good time of year to focus your mind – and those of your colleagues and bosses – on your attitudes and behaviours in relation to the continuing disparity between the genders in the workplace and elsewhere. While some clearly see IWD as an opportunity to sell more products, you could have a greater influence on creating change by actually taking concrete actions to improve things – ones which extend beyond 8 March.

So how can you change the world in the space of a commute? A good first step would be to research this year’s campaign theme for IWD – #PressforProgress. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap report, at the current rate of change gender parity is over 200 years away. The campaign is an effort to speed that up.

It is not intended to be specific to any brand or company but to be a banner under which all can unite. Where it narrows its focus is in its suggestions of five areas where individuals and organisations can effect change. It asks participants to:

  1. “Maintain a gender parity mindset”, for example by questioning lack of women’s participation in any arena and offering alternatives;
  2. “Challenge stereotypes and bias”, including by removing barriers to women’s progress and buying from retailers that portray them positively;
  3. “Forge positive visibility of women”, such as by offering them opportunities first and selecting them as leaders;
  4. “Influence others’ beliefs/actions”, leading by example or campaigning in meaningful ways; or
  5. “Celebrate women’s achievements”, for instance by giving credit for women’s contributions and celebrating or showcasing their successes.

Taking a few minutes to work out which of these you can most effectively execute, and then spread the word, is one way to put your commuting time to the best possible use.