If we look at the headlines or the latest horrifying YouTube clip, International Women's Day may seem a bad time to celebrate equality for women. But alongside the stories of extraordinary atrocity and everyday violence lies another reality, one where more girls are in school and more are earning qualifications than ever before; where maternal mortality is at an all-time low; where more women are in leadership positions, and where women are increasingly standing up, speaking out and demanding action.
We need to ensure that women have equal status in the workplace through equal pay, equal access to work in non- traditional areas, to top jobs and equal standing. But there is no quick fix. To smash through this glass ceiling we need to start with the foundations... We need to look to the inspirational women of the past.
Our campaign is one led by women most affected by the ongoing austerity which is tearing families from their homes and making countless people street-homeless. We are directly challenging our Labour council and the wider government. We're angry, organised and are demanding change!
When Ebola struck it was our women who were hit first and worst. Women are the traditional caregivers in our communities, so when people got sick, it was the mothers, sisters, aunties and grandmothers who tended them, often paying the ultimate price.
Throughout the patriarchal era, the voice of woman has been silenced. It is barely audible now. It is surely time for women of every nation, religion and ethnic group to say: "Enough is enough! There must be an end to this ongoing slaughter, rape and suffering. Together, we can and must end it."
Exacerbated by traditional social norms such as child marriage, trafficking and child labour, young girls living in tea estates are not only more likely to be engaged in domestic labour and out of school, but they are also at greater risk of discrimination and gender based violence.
By this time next year, I'd love to be able to say that all girls are body confident, that all women have their achievements and desires respected, that everyone, man or woman, is safe from abusive relationships and sexual violence. Everyone needs to take action if this is to happen.
The early 1900s were a time when women couldn't even wear trousers as it was perceived to be hugely unfeminine. Unsurprisingly, women were also not allowed to fight in the First World War. None of this stopped Flora Sandes, the only British women to serve officially as a soldier.
Many people will be unaware of the female pilots of World War II's Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), but they have been a source of inspiration for me for many years. This civilian organisation consisted of pilots who ferried (often unfamiliar) warplanes between factories, maintenance units and front-line squadrons, playing a vital role in the war.
For centuries, we've been stuck with the status quo: in the corporate world, in international affairs, in education, sports, media and everything in-between. The present state of affairs is very evidently not working, and yet it endures. It's time to start saying, loudly, "this isn't good enough anymore."
International Women's Day is my favourite day of the year, because it's a special occasion where we get to celebrate how fucking cool it is to be a woman. I personally do this everyday in my head anyway; a mini-me dancing ethereally within the confines of my mind to a Beyonce mixtape.
Get this: I first thought I'd like to do stand-up when I saw Ben Elton on TV combining two of my favourite things - comedy and politics. I was 15 and I thought, I could do that (no offence, Ben). Then after plucking up the courage for two decades, I finally did my first gig. You read it right. TWO DECADES.
Two days before my daughter's first birthday, my to-do list read like this. 1) Cake. 2) Presents. 3) Dig out sagging pre-pregnancy swimming costume and go for a dip in the local pool, the whole thing filmed in close-up with a strategically positioned bright light highlighting every normally-hidden flaw.
Young people are using the tools of story-telling to identify themselves and each other, especially girls. The millions of selfies, much derided by the media are not born of simple arrogance - they are a continuous stream of identifiers: this is me, I look like this I am here wearing this.
Here's a question: can you name me five female writers from history? Of course you can: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf... OK, next question. Can you name me five female composers?
Through their dissemination, the young people have reached over 1,000 girls directly, and many, many more through their films, educational resources and music videos. In the last 12 months, we've provided training and advice to over 2,400 frontline professionals and other adults across the UK. Raising public awareness is key to all this change and media plays a critical role. The Comic Relief documentary for BBC Three, Stop Cutting Our Girls: A Comic Relief Special is an excellent example of this and we are all hoping it will reach a new audience.
Time to top up the air miles, clear the throat and get on your dancing feet we are of course back at the coal face... earning a crust, same firm, same venues, different songs (even though 'some of the chords are the same' Ha-ha!!
Removing barriers to success like discrimination and divisions is a necessity for business success. More women in leadership roles will help you seek out and capitalize on more opportunities, find solutions to challenges before they become problems, and create a happier, healthier, more productive company.
Once again, International Women's Day gives us the chance to refocus the world's attention on giving every girl their rightful place in school.
I put my agitprop comedy theatre and my cinematic art ambitions aside, swallowed my pride and threw myself into the absurd world of Soap Opera. The work was relentless and demanding, a grinding sausage factory of five day a week TV.
As a GREAT campaign ambassador I feel that Great Britain and China have a phenomenal opportunity to create partnerships and business together. The festival has been a fantastic platform to build on new and existing relationships in a new economic climate. It was an honour to have the Duke of Cambridge there to be as part of this pioneering event and it makes me proud to be British!
I believe that now the economy is back on track and the statistics consistently tell a positive story, perhaps it is time to remember that people are people, and to really think about what is holding back those who remain unemployed and what we all can do to help them.