At Amazon we’re preparing for a week of celebrations in the run up to International Women’s Day (IWD) on Sunday 8th March.

The annual global event acts as a ‘call to action’ to increase gender equality, helping people around the world to eliminate discrimination against women and to help women gain full and equal participation in a range of areas.This year’s theme, ‘an equal world is an enabled world’, focuses on how we can all forge a gender equal world by celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality.

As an official IWD 2020 Partner, Amazon is proud to support IWD’s stated mission, Women at Work: “To champion women of all backgrounds who dare to innovate, lead, and uplift others towards a more equal and inclusive workplace.”

The IWD website has plenty of useful information on Amazon’s partnership, from the inspiring women proud to be Amazon Web Services (AWS) builders to the women tackling some of the most complex challenges in technology.

Here’s a flavour of how Amazon employees will be celebrating IWD this week.

Amazon employees holding balloons for International women's day

Sessions to empower and optimise

Throughout the week we’ll be hosting guest speakers and panel sessions on a range of topics, from empowering self-belief to getting outside your comfort zone and helping your peers to grow.Speakers this week will include: Gina Martin, author of Be the Change, who successfully campaigned to make up-skirting illegal; Carrie Gracie, BBC journalist and author of Equal; and Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith, strategist, activist and author of The Space Between Black and White.

On Wednesday, we will host a panel discussion to showcase and learn from women who have taken different directions to achieve their career goals. The discussion will focus on the diversity of careers in digital and the potential to create opportunities for all when we put diversity at the core of an organisation.

The panel will be chaired by Verra Budimlija (Chief Strategy Officer for Wavemaker), with panellists including Rene Perkins (Founder of CityMaaS), Viola de Girolami (Head of Digital Marketing, Warner Bros) and Fiona McDonnell (Managing Director, Amazon Advertising).Jay Rai, CEO and founder of Mind Worthy, will also deliver a workshop session on how to recognise and address ‘limiting beliefs’. He’ll provide quick and easy techniques to become more self-aware and retrain our brains to empower positive thoughts.

We’re even hosting a ‘sleep workshop’ with Parents@, our employee affinity group for parents.

Gabby Logan and Nicola Kemp, Managing Editor for BRITE at Creativebrief
Gabby Logan and Nicola Kemp, Managing Editor for BRITE at Creativebrief

Fireside chat with Gabby Logan MBE

We’re delighted to be joined by sports broadcaster Gabby Logan MBE for a special ‘fireside chat’ on sport, women and broadcasting.

Gabby was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Years Honours for services to sports broadcasting and the promotion of women in sport.

The event will be livestreamed to our offices around the UK.

Empower and optimise

Our very own Balvinder Pawar – Fashion Production Manager for Amazon Studios – will also host a session of external speakers on topics around empowerment and optimising ourselves.For Balvinder, her diagnosis with breast cancer in 2015 became an opportunity to build mental resilience, find her true self and make a difference in other people’s lives.When she was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time in 2019, Balvinder made a decision: “The first time, I had allowed myself to become only a patient, but I was having none of that this time around… Having cancer doesn’t mean that life has to stop. I wanted to continue working, and to build a support community inside the company.”

Amazon employees celebrating International Women's Day

Since then, Balvinder has beaten breast cancer for a second time, raised thousands of pounds to help others and leveraged her internal contacts to set up Amazon’s Critical Illness Support Group, an anonymous space where employees can share their experiences and concerns.We can’t wait to find out more about Balvinder’s inspirational story.

Yoga, careers coaching and speed mentoring

Each day Amazon MatchUp, our global peer-to-peer mentoring programme, will host ‘Speed Mentoring’ sessions open to all employees. Amazon MatchUp (previously known as Amazon Circles) helps to foster connections between employees, building more meaningful relationships.Daily career coaching sessions will cover key topics such as ‘Owning your personal brand’, ‘The magic of living purposefully’ and ‘Taming your inner critic’.On top of that, each day we’ll be hosting lunchtime yoga sessions to help employees relax and unwind.

Employee at Amazon for International women's day

How does Amazon support gender equality throughout the year?

Amazon is continually looking for ways to diversify its workforce and foster an inclusive culture. Our culture of inclusion is reinforced by our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust.

Here are just a few other ways that we work to support gender equality all year round:

  • Amazon Amplify is our mission to help boost the number of women in STEM careers and study
  • Amazon employees are encouraged to chart their own path, with options such as flexibility, part-time working, job sharing and shared parental leave

We’ll also be discussing gender equality throughout the week on social media via #IWD2020 #EachforEqual