International Women’s Day, celebrated on the 8th March of each year, is a global celebration of the social, economical, cultural and political achievements of women. The day is also a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The theme for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge and stands for calling out gender bias and inequality, and creating an inclusive world.
At Gibsons we are proud to support women and their achievements and careers. Our team is made up of lots of powerful women, including 75% of our Board of Directors. We also work with a range of female artists and inventors for our jigsaws and games, and are excited to promote women in the workplace.
We spoke to some of the team about what International Women’s Day means to them.
Kate – Managing Director
IWD is an opportunity to raise the profile of some incredible colleagues and friends and to celebrate how far we have come. But it’s also a time to reflect on how much further there is to go. A third of FTSE 100 Directors are women, that means 66% are men. I must confess to being somewhat immune to this working at Gibsons. With 3 female directors on our board and a culture of raising up and celebrating the achievements of women it is easy to forget, but we are clearly not the norm. I know there are fears around how women have taken on more of the burden of childcare during the pandemic and progress has been thwarted, but I am hopeful that longer term, the home working shift and the realisation that both men and women can balance the needs of their family and still be hugely productive at work, means that with the support of more employers we can redress the balance further. Meanwhile, at Gibsons we’ll continue to champion ‘Rebel Girls’ everywhere…
Amanda – Commerical Director
I have worked for Gibsons for over 10 years working my way up through the ranks within an organisation I love and recently taking on the role of Commercial Director at Gibsons. A lot has changed in those 10 years; 2 babies later and relocating 100 miles away from our South London office to Warwickshire. It’s not always been easy juggling the demands of parenting two young children and holding down a very busy job. Would I change it? No way. I thrive on the challenge of growing our business and providing our loyal customers with puzzles that they love. Empowering our staff has always been a founding pillar of who we are, and I have been bowled over by the team’s ability to problem solve at every turn even with a number of the team home schooling at the same time, all whilst managing the sky rocketing demand for the humble jigsaw in the last 12 months as people seek the escapism a puzzle can offer. For me International Women’s Day shines a light and tries to shatter that glass ceiling, for me working part time I was nervous, did this mean my career was on pause for a while? Thankfully, Gibsons is much more forward thinking than that and values the individual over presenteeism.
Nicki – Sales Director
I often don’t stop to consider how many of our team are women; rather the focus is on how we all gel as a team and work to get the job done. I then go home and realise that, as a mum of 2 teenage girls, women still have certain obstacles to overcome. Their childhood in the ‘Noughties’ is as different to my own in the 80’s as that of my own mum in the 50’s. Times have changed enormously, and with it many attitudes and barriers to opportunity for women, but there is still a way to go. My hope is that things continue to change until one day we can have an International Human Day where people are judged purely for their input to society, and for no other reason.
Sam – Marketing & PR Manager
This year’s #ChooseToChallenge theme has got me thinking about all the courageous women throughout history who have fought for freedom and equality. Having worked closely on the launch of our Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls products and recently read ‘Ladies Who Punch’ by Yasmin Alibai-Brown, I feel so inspired by their stories, from Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to practise law in Britain, to abolitionist and political activist, Harriet Tubman.
I’m extremely privileged to live and work in an inclusive environment that empowers women, however I am inspired to do everything in my power to call out gender bias and encourage my peers to do the same - in the hope that one day we can live in an equal world.
Emma – Inventor of our family game, Quirk!
I believe everyone should be accepted for who they are, it's a big part of what the game Quirk! is all about. Levelling the playing field and celebrating our differences. What International Women's Day highlights for me is the levelling of the playing field and celebrating the many wonderful achievements that have been made by women over the years, who are inspiring the next generation about who they are able to become and what they are able to create in the world.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
At Gibsons we have partnered with the team behind the internationally bestselling book series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls to produce two jigsaw puzzles and a card game, appealing to girls and women of all ages. The original stories tell true tales of heroic women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams, and celebrates queens, activists, scientists, and artists throughout history. With our strong female presence in HQ, and constantly inspired by our own gang of Rebel Girls (the daughters of some of the team), we are proud to encourage everyone to learn more about the incredible achievements of women across history.
And that’s what International Women’s Day is all about – celebrating past and present successes, and encouraging the next generation of women to continue fighting for inclusion and equality. This year, celebrate with the women in your life. Here’s to them!