The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day – a day for celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action against inequality. This year’s theme aims to #BreakTheBias 🙅🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♂️ against women in our communities, workplaces, schools, and society. Even today, prejudice against women continues to represent a significant challenge to gender equality. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that gender equality will not be achieved for another 135 years.


At Madano, we are taking International Women’s Day as an opportunity to remember how far society has come in campaigning for gender equality. Below are some key milestones in British Women’s History:


Timeline UK:

  • 1918: Following the British suffrage movement, women won the right to vote (if they met the criteria of owning a property and being over the age of 30).
  • 1918: Irishwoman Constance Markievicz became the first women to be elected to the House of Commons – but refused to take her seat in protest.
  • 1928: All women ages over 21 were given voting rights.
  • 1952: Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne and is the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
  • 1961: The contraceptive pill for married women became available on the NHS, it was later made available to single women in 1967.
  • 1979: Margaret Thatcher was elected the first female Prime Minister of the UK and was the longest serving British Prime Minister of the 20th
  • 1991: Helen Sharman became the first British Astronaut.
  • 1999: Women were legally entitled to 18 weeks unpaid maternity leave, whereas maternity leave varied depending on length of service in previous years.
  • 2017: Nearly 20 per cent of small businesses in the UK are female owned – increasing to 30 per cent in 2020.
  • 2021: The gender pay gap between men and women dropped to 4 per cent, and women on FTSE boards increased by 50 per cent in five years.


International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and celebrated in the UK since 1977. The historic event commemorates its 45th annual event this year. It is undeniable that much progress has been made towards a more gender-equal world, though we still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity. It is important to continue to champion for gender equality beyond March 8th and remember that we can all make a positive difference for women across the world.


Join us as we aim to #BreakTheBias in our workplace, champion women’s voices and celebrate our women colleagues this month.


International Women's Day

Madano colleagues supporting IWD with the #BreakTheBias pose.



Further resources:


2016 Fawcett Report

GOV.UK Research and analysis: Gender equality at work: research on the barriers to women’s progression

World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2021

The Fawcett Society

Helen Bamber Foundation

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