International Women's Day
Tuesday 8 March 2022 marked International Women's Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. This is an annual celebration that commemorates the history and achievements of women and aims to raise awareness about women's equality, and a call to action for accelerating gender parity. It is an opportunity for women to come together, to share experiences, and for everyone to recognise and appreciate the achievements of Women.
This year's theme was #BreakTheBias. CACT hosted a free webinar session with Charlton Athletic Women's players Jess King and Vyan Sampson, as well as Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald and Dr Rosemary Lobban.
We asked some CACT staff members why they think it's important we celebrate International Women's Day.
Georgie, NCS Programme Officer
It is good to celebrate international women’s day as it allows people to recognise what amazing and inspiring female role models there are out there.
The best part of my job is seeing the amount of positive impact made not just by myself, but everyone who works for CACT, through the multi programs and events we run. Seeing young people aged 15-17 grow individually and as a team through participation on our NCS programmes and develop skills and confidence to challenge themselves to achieve their personal targets for their future. I would suggest that they should take up every opportunity thrown their way to expand their knowledge and skills needed to become the best they can be. I would advise that everyone should treat each other equally and not to feel pressured to face a challenge that may be out of their comfort zone.
Becky, CACT mentor
My parents placed a high value on education and it was education that helped ‘open doors’. I went to a School that believed and encouraged all pupils with their ethos of enrichment and aspirations, especially for young females, which was instrumental in shaping my life. My first experience of inequality was felt when I was just 15 years old. I was a twin and my twin was a boy, indeed he was the only boy in the family apart from my father. We were both excited to stay out late but my father wanted me in earlier! I felt this was unjust and simply said, ‘what about dads keeping their boys in, then all we girls can stay out late’. I cannot remember what happened but I can remember feeling utterly let down. The second incident involved my father again. I had finished my ‘A’ Levels and he had been preparing and painting the outside of the house. I had spent my childhood watching and following my father and helping him as I loved all things physical and practical. I offered to continue with the painting while he went to work but was told ‘girls are not cut out for this sort of work’! I responded by waiting until he went to work, got the paint and brushes I needed, climbed the scaffolding and started to apply the undercoat. I remained there until my father returned from work, he was surprised at what I had achieved, gave me advice and allowed me to continue.
I felt the impact of inequality and the confusion of ‘what is wrong with me’; only to realise, it was merely because ‘I am a girl.
The third experience happened once I qualified as a PE Teacher, in my second year I was encouraged by the Head of PE; Brian and another colleague Karen to apply for the role of Head of PE; Brian was moving to another position within the school. I remember feeling so supported by these 2 members of staff and actually got the job after a tough interview. I was to become the first female head of PE in South Yorkshire but hit initial controversy when 1 of the male applicants made a complaint stating, ‘that a Head of PE should always be a male role’. I taught at the school for 25 years and helped create and shape a school which worked hard to support all and address issues of inequality; we even changed the colour in the boys and girls changing rooms from blue and pink to a neutral yellow and developed a curriculum that represented greater choice and equality of access for all. When I became Director of Sport Health and Well-Being in 2009, we worked hard to spread this message across the school.
As a 52-year-old I prepared to paint the house I shared with my partner, all 5 floors, scaffolding arrived and this time it was not just the men saying it was not safe, disappointingly, my partner and a significant number of my female friends also disapproved! I carried on completing the task but never really got the recognition I felt my efforts deserved considering their disapproval!
It is possible to overcome inequalities as an individual and to work together with others to help overcome them on a larger scale but until we can ‘unpick’ the ‘root’ of inequality, which I feel exists within our culture and society, much of it hidden out of direct view and some of it coming from places you simply do not expect, we will continue to let down and our society will fail to be as ‘rich’ as it could or should be.
Fatima, Young Greenwich Youth Worker
International Women’s Day is important. It’s a chance to come together and recognise the incredible achievements of women. Throughout history, women have influenced the human experience and change our world, culturally, socially and politically. We use this day to honour and celebrate women. I would say to young women if they want to join my role of youth worker, I would recommend starting volunteering. The best part of my job is that I can create activities and experiences to show equality for everyone, for example, if a young lady wants to have a pamper day, they have their own choice to choose the activities for the day.
Red, White and Black Day
Special guests Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE and Paul Mortimer led the annual Charlton Athletic and Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) Red, White and Black Day on 2 April at The Valley.
Red, White and Black Day is an initiative that has been part of the Charlton fabric for over 25 years. This year the parade from Charlton station to The Valley will include over 300 people from the Charlton family for a day that celebrates diversity and inclusion. This year’s event theme is ‘All Different, All Together, All Charlton’.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence, one of the most high-profile Equality campaigners in the UK who has fought tirelessly for social justice, led the parade, alongside Paul Mortimer, a former Charlton player and now Patron of LGBT+ supporter group Proud Valiants. A leading representative from the Royal Borough of Greenwich joined the parade, as well as men’s U23 players and Charlton Athletic Women players plus CACT’s Chair of Trustees Marilyn Toft and CACT Trustee Martin Griffiths CBE and representatives from Charlton Athletic.