International Women's Day: Celebrating women in business

International Women's Day has its roots in Russia, where it is traditional to shower all the women in your family with flowers and compliments (only once a year, mind) and celebrate the name of 'woman'. This cause has now been espoused by nations across the world - the UK more than most.

But what is the point of this festival? In a time when many women are seeking equal opportunities, equal pay and equal standing in the workplace, does a women-only event drive a deeper wedge? Or do women need this day to raise awareness of the gender gap that still exists? Does International Women's Day create a rallying point for women all over the world to demand more equality and shout about their successes?

Lynne Franks, founder of B.Hive believes so. The former PR supremo is hosting a special event at B.Hive Covent Garden to celebrate the centenary. Franks has always been very clear on her belief that women entrepreneurs need to be nurtured and encouraged in a very different way to men: hence the launch of her feminine working and networking space. Speaking at the smarta way to do business LIVE last week, she said, "Men have the rest of the world, can't we have one small space of our own?"

Ling Valentine, serial entrepreneur and founder of, disagrees. She sums up International Women's Day in three short, sharp sentences: "Immense load of bollocks. Waste of time. Nonsense."

Here is my opinion. As a woman, it is sometimes difficult to know where to draw the line between celebration of women and positive discrimination - or gender bias. If what's good for the goose is good for the gander, should we not have an International Men's Day to celebrate the heroism and achievements of men throughout the ages too? Are we not all just people, after all?

Here are some comments from Twitter on International Women's Day:

@nubiztales: @SmartaHQ #InternationalWomensDay Celebrating those who have endless plates spinning in the air. Work, home, family, etc! :0) #entrepreneurs

@ogunte: @SmartaHQ #InternationalWomensDay let's grab the media opp +make it a mainstream feature for the wealth women bring about

@culturebroker: @SmartaHQ Better than Valentine's Day (& price of chocs doesn't go up!)

@alihollands: @SmartaHQ Awesome day.

@KateKendall I hope in 20 years time we won't need an International Women's Day and that all the world's people enjoy equality, dignity and human rights.


Feel strongly about International Women's Day? Have your say. Leave a comment below.

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