International Women’s Day 2023


During March, we celebrate Women’s History Month in the UK. This is a month-long celebration of the vital role of women in history and the contributions made by women in all areas of our society.

This year, International Women’s Day is on Wednesday 8th of March. This day is celebrated globally and recognises women’s incredible achievements, raises awareness and encourages others to advocate for gender equality. It is also a day when women from all different backgrounds and cultures get together to fight for gender equality and women’s rights.

Read below to see what our MPA colleagues and Board members have to say about International Women’s Day.

In 1909 around 15,000 women took to the streets in New York, protesting long work hours, low pay and the lack of voting rights in New York City.
Originally called National Woman’s Day, the historic annual celebration spread across the world (officially celebrated in 1911). In 1975, the United Nations officially recognised International Women’s Day, and, in 1996, began to adopt an annual theme for every year.

The first theme was “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future.”

 The theme for 2023
This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA.

“Gender equity is the process of being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, strategies and measures must often be available to compensate for women’s historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field. Equity leads to equality.” (, 2023)

How to get involved
There are several ways to celebrate and get involved on this very important day! You can attend a virtual event, share famous quotes on social media, empower the women in your lives by supporting them in their ambitions and careers, fundraise for female-focused charities and by listening to them because we all have a story to tell…

For further information, please contact the DEI Team:
Helen Choudhury
Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
MPA Champion for Menopause
Mental Health First Aider
[email protected]

For more information:

Some Helpful Links & Resources:
Click on the links below to read and learn about some of the contributions British women have made to our society.

Famous British Women | Britain Visitor – Travel Guide To Britain (
Inspirational black British women you should know about | London Evening Standard | Evening Standard
5 incredible historical British South Asian women to inspire you this Women’s History Month — British Asian Women’s Magazine (
The History of South Asian Women in the UK (
Black women in Britain — Google Arts & Culture
British Asian women – Women’s History Network (
Women in History | English Heritage (


MPA Staff and Board Members


Laura May, Director, May Music Ltd. – MPA Board Member
Laura founded the independent music publishing company May Music in 2017 after many years of working in different roles around the industry. She still consults for a variety of independent labels, publishers and producers on their royalties.

 What does equity mean to you?
I was in a Board meeting when I first heard the term equity and the person speaking also emphasised that they had said equity and not equality, so I made a note to look up the distinction. When I asked Google, I was presented with an image that made me smile.  There are 3 people, each standing on a box to see over a fence but the little one is still too little to see. Even though they all had access to the same box the outcome was not the same for everyone.  In the second picture that depicts equity, the little one has two boxes, one of them is from the man that didn’t really need a box as he was tall enough to see without it. This made me smile because this is the kind of problem-solving I have to do in my daily life.  I’m the little one.  And the same can be said for my publishing company, I’m the little one.  But with the help of others I have made a way for myself and I have a seat at the table with the bigger publishers.  I feel that part of my role now is to help the other little publishers and make sure they are aware of the opportunities around them so they can utilise them in the same way I did and still do.

What progress have you seen around gender equality in your life and work?
I work on my own so sometimes I’m not in the thick of day-to-day working life enough to actually see with my eyes if gender equality is changing in the music industry, but I like to think it is.  There are some amazing women in top jobs but there is a way to go until we get to true gender parity. I think that it is key for anyone to understand what they are worth and what their value is. Be clear about what they bring to the table in any situation and don’t be afraid to speak up for themselves. It’s also important for women to be seen in the top jobs so that other women can see what their potential career paths could be.

In your opinion, why is it important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is important because we should celebrate our achievements but also bring into focus the work that is still to be done.  It’s also an opportunity to reflect on our own lives. If I could have a chat with my teenage self I would encourage a career as a DJ…although I realised recently that just because you found a new dream to pursue doesn’t mean the old ones are irrelevant!

Claire McAuley, SVP of Global Administration at Warner Chappell Music – MPA Board Member
Claire began her music industry career in 2006 at BMG Music Publishing. She went on to undertake a number of roles at Universal Music Publishing, advertising agency TBWA and the MPA. She has an extensive background in copyright, royalties, policy and collective rights management. She joined Warner Chappell Music in 2018 as VP, International Operations. Since taking up that position, she has reviewed the publisher’s copyright and royalties practices.

What progress have you seen around gender equality in your life and work?
The biggest progress I’ve seen is in acknowledging the inequality that’s persisted for so long.  Change can only take root when you call out the problem and work to identify the cause.  In no place have I felt those results more strongly than at Warner Chappell – we have dual global leadership of mixed genders in our Co-Chairs Guy Moot and Carianne Marshall, and our leadership team in the UK is majority female.  I feel very proud to be part of a company that actively seeks out and supports female leaders at all levels.

If you could go back to the start of your career, what advice would you give yourself?
Speak up when you encounter any behaviour that causes you or your colleagues to feel uncomfortable in the workplace.  Earlier in my career, there were many things I experienced that I wish I had been brave enough to speak out about. Unfortunately, some of what I witnessed caused execs, including me, to take a step away from our passion and, in some cases, we saw talented women leave our industry all together. If others and I had spoken up, we could have created a more supportive environment for women – for everyone – sooner.  While I can see first-hand the positive changes that have been made, it is vitally important that we continue to speak up, and safeguard our industry for future generations.

What do you do to promote equity in your workplace or team?
We’re offering everyone in Administration the same training and upskilling opportunities; supporting progression into different departments; and challenging our hiring practices to create a diverse talent pool of individuals from different industries, with different skills from different backgrounds. This is helping us create equity across employees, and teams.  More broadly within the wider Warner Music Group, we know there’s a way to go before we achieve true gender equity, but we are putting in place policies and processes to help, including reform of parental leave policy, training to eliminate unconscious bias in the field of recruitment and retention, and the offer of more flexible working patterns.

Nicky Ojomo, Partnerships & Events Assistant – MPA Staff Member
Nicky has worked with the MPA for almost a year now. Her previous work experiences include interning with trade body PRS for Music as Marketing Assistant and working as a Project Assistant at the music charity, Small Green Shoots.

Do you feel that it’s important for young girls to have women role models to look up to?
Seeing is believing. It’s hard to believe that it’s possible to achieve something if nobody that looks like you has. Representation is important for everyone but depending on the industry, young girls are often limited when it comes to women role models. Knowing someone has likely faced the same gender barriers you may have and still succeeded, makes those hurdles seem easier to overcome.

 What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
I think there is much more to do but, I’m happy to see the progress in conversations around gender equality. I think the conversation has become more open, with people acknowledging that to achieve gender equality, the requirements are different to each woman.

 What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
For me, International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the women in my life and honour the women that actively fight for equality. I think it’s important to celebrate those that paved the way.



Arabella Hoy, Marketing & Communications Manager – MPA Staff Member
Bella has a background in advertising, magazine and print publishing with an MA in Publishing and Creative Writing.

 What does equity mean to you?
To me, equity means acknowledging that we all have different circumstances and allocating the appropriate resources to each individual to succeed.

In your opinion, why is it important to celebrate International Women’s Day? It is an opportunity to highlight women’s achievements and issues related to bias, stereotypes and discrimination. It is also a time to reflect on the role we all play in promoting equity and equality for women.

What would you like men to do to promote equity for women?
Men should be allies in a meaningful way and call out misogyny when they see it in both their professional and personal lives. Listening to and elevating our voices, while giving us access to tools such as mentoring, will help ensure we are better equipped and more visible in the workplace.


Natalie Graham, Partnerships & Events Manager – MPA Staff Member
After graduating with a degree in Music from Durham University, Natalie began her music career at Digital Distribution company Believe Digital. She then spent time working in membership for leading London clubs. 

In your opinion, why is it important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
I think it’s a really important time to recognise women’s achievements as well as putting a spotlight on important issues. 

Do you feel that it’s important for young girls to have women role models to look up to?
One hundred percent, I think it’s crucial young girls have positive role models showcasing a template for success. 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Personally, I think it’s an important time to elevate women, to level the playing field.


Helen Choudhury, Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion – MPA Staff Member
Helen is a multiple award-winning global EDI practitioner. She has managed strategic diversity, inclusion and human rights programmes throughout her 20-plus year career in EDI and has also worked voluntarily for animal welfare charities and environmental organisations. 

Do you feel that it’s important for young girls to have women role models to look up to?
It is important for young girls to have women role models who they can relate to and aspire to be like. They need to know that there is room at the top for women. Someone at the top who looks like them, talks like them and can relate to them. They need to see that the world of work is diverse and representative of all protected characteristics. There is still a lack of representation of women at senior level positions, and this includes Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, in particular women, LGBTQIA+ people and disabled people. We need to look at how we hire, where we hire and who we put into those senior leadership positions. We also need to look at who we feel comfortable in hiring and why? We need to understand our internal biases first and then we can work on being truly inclusive.

Do women still get overlooked for senior management positions?
I attended an international women’s network hosted by an investment bank a few years ago. Whilst chatting with women colleagues and friends, I found out that they all faced similar challenges regardless of which country they were working in.
These women came from and represented diverse backgrounds including race, religion, age and sexuality.
All of them faced a number of barriers in their career. The biggest one was getting into SMT positions and getting on the board.

So, the answer is yes, most women all over the world still get overlooked for senior management positions but this is all changing as men in senior management positions are becoming more aware of how their decision-making processes and actions can negatively impact on them and their organisations. More men are becoming our allies and that is important for us. More men are realising that diversity of gender and diversity of thought is essential to have especially if an organisation is to survive in a global competitive market today.

 If you could go back to the start of your career, what advice would you give your younger self?
At the beginning of my career, I sometimes felt lost and confused. I wasn’t quite sure if I was on the right track or if I made the right career choice (legal profession). There is sometimes a feeling of uncertainty when one is young. Today, I would tell my younger self to be more confident and believe in yourself. No matter what barriers you face, you will overcome them by working hard, being strong and sticking to your dreams and ambitions. Always grab the opportunity to learn from others and do not ever be afraid to ask questions.


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