International Women's Day - how far have we come?

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March 2019 News

Although not fully embraced by the UN until 1975 when International Women’s Day (IWD) was created, the first example of a Women’s Day was in 1909[1] the times of the suffragettes.

It shows how far we’ve come that my first thought after reading the 2019 IWD campaign slogan is #balanceforbetter, was about creating a balanced life shortly followed by games involving see-saws!

#IWD2019 is about gender balance [in the workplace] - of course it is!  I can assure you from personal experience and observation that a balance of anything, including but not limited to gender, benefits decision making and team work, it makes a positive difference.  So, I set about wondering how I write something from the perspective of a company in its 35th year which is significantly weighted towards women!  Our vision is to create empowered, authentic and visible people – no gender distinction in sight! 

I firmly believe we are all, simply, better for balance. 

There are infinite references, books, articles, blogs, posts and courses about achieving balance and we all know – even if we don’t always practice it - that regular exercise is an essential ingredient to maintaining the balance provided by good physical and mental fitness – going to the gym.  Some of you may be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs[2] (for those who like watching to learn, try this.)


For those who like acronyms (my apologies to those who don’t!) here’s a version you can carry in your mind for easier recall: The PIES gym (Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual) is where you ensure your own oxygen mask is on before helping others[3].

·         Physical – ensuring your internal and external environment are healthy, well maintained and fully support you, including your (physical and mental) health, your outward appearance, your home and work environments and things you need to go about your daily life (transport, technology, tools for your jobs/activities). 

·         Intellectual – being intellectually engaged, stimulated and/or challenged – depending on who you are!  Whether you read, listen, debate, observe or reflect – learning is available at any time and fulfils our need to grow.  There’s always more to learn, in fact as Socrates[4] says “There’s never nothing going on”.  

·         Emotional – feeling emotionally safe, secure and loved, being part of a community (family, friends, work, social) is fundamental – come and be a fly on the wall at a social gathering or one of our regular trainings, meetings and conferences or join an event or training with a local consultant and notice the buzz.

·         Spiritual –nurturing your spirit.  That piece of your core being which holds the essence of who you are.  It requires feeding and taking care of AND it has a voice which needs to be expressed; some people call it giving back, paying forward, contributing, making a difference – self-actualisation to remain in balance.  When fully expressed it is like a magnet, a magical gift visible through people’s passions – some call it your purpose[5], your why[6] – it’s the fuel in your energy tank, find out how to access it!

We inherently learn that telling the truth is easier and requires less energy (maybe more courage!) than maintaining a lie[7], so telling the truth about your self and who you are requires less energy, leaving more available for what’s important to you. 

Life is a journey, not a destination – Ralph Waldo Emerson


When out of balance a person can feel inexplicably debilitated, their performance is negatively affected.  When an organisation is out of balance performance, the same thing happens.  And unless you’re truly static, stationery or otherwise glued to the spot, it can appear like an aspirational goal – like a horizon, something to aim for, sometimes elusive, rarely fully achieved for long thanks to the dynamics of life’s pendulum swing!


Change is the only constant in life - Heraclitus


The world of theatre and film demonstrates perfectly how the costume and character need to be congruent and honour one another for the character to be believable and the performance to succeed.  The balance of clothing to the character’s and personality to portray the required messages is critical; too strong and we notice the costume, too weak and the character becomes invisible.

The actor is you, the character is yours – physically (e.g. colour, shape, proportions) and personality – and the ‘performance’ and ‘stage’ is your life.  Imagine a life where your ‘PIES’ gym is working for you, your wardrobe is full of ‘costumes’ that support you; too strong and we notice your costumes, too weak and you become invisible! Having the right ‘costume’ is an essential but almost invisible foundation stone – if it’s working, we don’t notice the clothes, we notice you.

My Great Granny, (Mabel Pendray;1894-1993) was 15 in 1909 and used to say ‘everything in moderation’ – which surely translates to being better for balance and so let’s #balanceforbetter.


It’s the journey that brings us happiness, not the destination – Dan Millman


Jackie Perkins has worked with House of Colour for over 20 years as a client, fan, consultant and now Director.  Balancing the pendulum of family life and work, she coaches clients and consultants to break through and flourish, enjoying enjoys exploring the horizons created beyond the foundations of the HOC 3-step process discovering what is possible for unlocking the potential of human confidence, through collaboration. If you would like to contact Jackie email 


[2] An article on explaining Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

[3] Metaphorical Reference to air travel advice ensuring you are physically well and able to help others

[4] Socrates: “Peaceful Warrior” , Dan Millman 2006

[5] Richard Jacobs: ‘7 questions to find your purpose: The essential guide to discovering your life’s meaning’ 2017

[6] Simon Sinek: ‘Start with Why: How great leaders inspire action’ 2011:

[7] For more information on energy availability - David R Hawkins: Power Vs. Force, 2014: Letting Go, 2013