Happy International Women’s Day!
This year’s theme is #PressforProgress and is focused on advancing global gender parity. The definition of progress is ‘development towards an improved or more advanced condition’.
We women certainly have the drive for this – in 2018 we celebrate 100 years since some women got the right to vote, and we see the rise of the #metoo and #timesup movements. It may feel we still have a lot to do especially since the forecast for us achieving gender parity is 2095 but everything we do on a daily basis counts. From how we raise our sons and our daughters, how we respond to inequality in the workplace or how we demonstrate leadership we are making a difference.
What would you focus on?
If you could choose an area to make a difference in what would it be?
I’m keen to focus on helping women leaders develop. In 2016 in partnership with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, EY undertook a comprehensive study of gender inequality in corporate leadership. The sample size was both massive and global, surveying nearly 22,000 organizations across a wide variety of industries in 91 countries. The results were clear and consistent: a company with female leaders will outperform a company with none. If 30% of a company’s senior teams are women, its net margin will be six percentage points higher than a company with no women in their executive teams – wow!
Other research shows that companies with women in 30% of the leadership positions have an increase in “innovation intensity”, that women are better at logical thinking, planning, coordination and problem solving. This is all powerful evidence that shows that gender parity impacts the bottom line. It is still surprising that many businesses are not developing female talent pipelines in order to capitalise on these benefits.
Do one thing you can do today to boost your own leadership potential
Gloria Steinem, feminist and journalist said “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” We all have to take responsibility for making big or small changes that will contribute to global parity. We can all be leaders – leaders in our own business, leaders in our community, leaders at work, leaders in our families, and we can all develop leadership abilities.
You can choose anything you like to boost your potential – I’m going to experiment. Cheryl Pinter-Veal, director of Partner Matters at Deloitte Services LP, said “Leadership is an R&D pilot all the time. You have to have the mindset that this is a laboratory and that all of these challenging experiences are opportunities to experiment. It can be a little scary—and it should. If you don’t have butterflies, you’re not learning.”
Don’t let Imposter syndrome or self doubt get in the way of your potential. I’m learning all the time in my business but I sense I need to push myself a bit more and up my game. I was recently asked about becoming a Trustee, which got me really excited, and while the organisation wasn’t right for me – the Trustee role is something I’m keen to explore.
The time is right for me to experiment with my business leadership and a community leadership role – what is right for you? Go on commit to something on International Women’s Day – make an intention to do something that contributes to your leadership potential.
Photo courtesy of Lucia at Unsplash.com