IWD 2016 - Making It Happen My Way

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One day a year, we publicly celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and also use this day to highlight the ongoing inequality, the prevailing and insidious unconscious and subtle gender bias that remains common in the majority of our workplaces. But one day? It's not enough. Why? For many reasons:

  • That one day? It's an instant creation of a gender split. In many ways, it isolates men who proudly stand up and fight for women every single day of the year, and who suddenly are marginalized and made to feel as though that contribution is non-existent;

  • Why shouldn't we celebrate achievements all year round? There are so many women achieving incredible things from the boardroom to the home, from earning millions to keeping children safe, educated and happy and healthy;
  • There continue to be so many women around the world where I am sure a one day discussion and awareness on women's issues is seen as a token gesture - child brides, human trafficking, women who are victims of genocide, dealing with homelessness and poverty; those who survive rape and 'domestic' violence (face up people and put your big girl and boy pants on - it's violence. Full stop. Don't sugar-coat it with a word that infers the cosy security of a home)
  • For those that know me, or read any of my articles and publications (or hear me talk anywhere at anytime), my big why is collaboration for change. I want to know a world where gender diversity and inequality is no longer a discussion topic, but rather a reality - and where rewards such as promotion are based on value and talent.

    According to current statistics it will be another 177 years until equity happens based on current activity and unless our scientists discover a way to keep me active way past the age of 221 (with an ability to still stand tall in stilettos) the baton will be handed over to my sons and daughter and their children's children.

    That's not good enough for me. That's not good enough for the women and men I stand with.

    I am a feminist and proud to be named as one. For me, this day - this discussion, this challenge to make change actually happen - is about these key things:

    • Being comfortable in my own skin as a woman
    • Expecting, giving and receiving equitable treatment
    • Standing proud and strong in my own unique spotlight
    • Using my voice and speaking with inner belief, authenticity, transparency and conviction
    • Similarly, using my voice when things aren't right
    • Valuing my own worth
    • Being aware and being grateful that as a woman in a first world country I have choice
    • Knowing as a woman, that equally other women in other countries don't have the choices I do
    • Changing the face of how work can be done by walking the talk of change with women and men who think and feel the way I do beside me.

    For me - well, the big, big point out of this is that choice. The choice to walk that talk my way - positioning up via a tribe of amazing women, standing beside my male champions of change, and influencing out with the book I have been fortunate enough to scramble out of my thoughts and my corporate and speaking work.

    International Women's Day is a celebration of what has been achieved and equally a public humiliation of what hasn't.

    So please. We need to stand together as women and men, as mothers and fathers, as friends and supporters, as workers and employers and employees to continue this journey.

    I do know this, even if some days I feel like tearing my hair out in despair at just how easily we seem to come off the rails in this journey to equality. If the opinions of the Gen Ys whom I am lucky enough to know, and the debate, the insights of the beautiful men in my circle, and the conversations I have with my children are anything to go by, then I still have a reason and a faith to be inspired for the future.

    So - in the spirit of this year's International Women's Day theme - let's make it happen.