Government and industry celebrate International Women's Day

Wed 8 Mar 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

International Women's Day 2023 logo

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global event celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity’.

“Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have,” according to the IWD website. “A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.”

Equality means that each individual or group of people would be given the same resources or opportunities, whilst the concept of equity recognises that each person has different circumstances and provides tailored resources based on this.

In business, there is a bottom line impact of almost £90bn of gross value-added lost to the British economy each year because of barriers to paid work faced by women, reports the Guardian.

As part of today’s celebrations, government and leading business groups made a series of announcements showcasing their efforts to tackle gender inequality.

WTO shows the way

The WTO reports that deputy director-general Angela Ellard told a women in trade event organised by Trade Finance Global in London that only one in five female-owned small businesses is exporting due to women entrepreneurs facing higher trade costs than men.

Ellard added that there is growing recognition of the hidden taxes in the form of tariffs on products that women buy, giving the example of women’s underwear that have higher duties than those for men in the US. 

UK government

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch released a video of her speaking with female entrepreneurs worldwide about their business experiences and explaining how the Department of Business and Trade (DBT) can support women's economic empowerment.

For the UK’s part, prime minister Rishi Sunak and education secretary Gillian Keegan launched a package aimed at boosting equal access to sports.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly launched a new strategy aiming to tackle gender inequality around the world, committing the foreign office to include a focus on gender equality in more than 80% of its bilateral aid programmes by 2030.

Diverse trading teams

Natalie Black, the first woman to hold the post of trade commissioner to the Asia Pacific region, told Civil Service World that recruiting diverse trade teams could foster innovative thinking.

“When I arrived, I had six people from the UK that were women,” she said. “I thought that was very low, and we've now more than doubled that. I’ve got three deputies and one of my deputies is a woman, so we really have tried to show that there are amazing opportunities overseas and they are genuinely open to anyone.”


The Trade Association Forum (TAF) launched its inaugural Women in Trade Associations Powerlist for International Women’s Day, featuring the 100 most influential women from the trade association sector.

TAF, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Confederation of British Industry joined forces to champion the role of women in trade associations, celebrate their achievements and encourage the next generation of women into the association sector. 

The FSB tweeted that women-owned businesses contribute £105bn to the UK economy.

Green finance

Environmental website spoke to women leaders that are driving change and improving approaches to green finance and environmental, social and governance investing.

Shami Nissan, head of sustainability at investor Actis, said that diversity in leadership roles is crucial to ensuring that the finance sector can position itself towards goals that benefit the planet and society.


Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has a Women in Logistics conference next month on 23 April with senior figures presenting on a range of keynotes and panel discussions.

Marketing Week reports how Amazon is supporting IWD with a festival involving several days of activity centred around the year’s theme.

It is spotlighting some of its woman-owned small businesses. Figures from the UN suggest in 40% of economies, women’s early-stage entrepreneurial activity is half or less than half of men’s.

Amazon aims to support woman-led businesses during its festival by showcasing them on its small business storefront, giving its customers a chance to discover and purchase from these brands.