This year marks the 109th International Women’s Day, celebrated on the 8 March and the theme for 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. So what is balance actually – well according to the English Oxford Living Dictionary it’s “a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions”. And with regards to gender parity in the workplace here at WBGS we think that’s something really great to work towards.
I’ll be right in the swing of it this year. Kicking off the day I’ll be speaking at the Queensland Association of State School Principals inaugural IWD breakfast. Straight after that I’ll be speaking with Monica Bradley at Global Payments who’s nominate cause for IWD is SheEO (more on this below). And finally I’ll be participating in the Global Goals for Sustainable Development Activation Seminar Series hosted by the University of Queensland. This seminar is about women leading the creation of circular economies for advancing Australia’s SDG 2030 agenda. And of course we strongly support SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. I couldn’t be more excited to be speaking at all of these events, helping champion female leadership.
It’s also a really exciting time in Australia with regards to women-led start-ups. In true female style, women are getting together to address the balance via SheEO. Currently, 96% of venture capital goes to male founders – meaning only 4% goes to female led ventures. SheEO is “a radically redesigned ecosystem that supports, finances, and celebrates female innovators”. They are not trying to fit women into the existing system, rather they are shifting mindsets, levelling the playing field and creating new models for start-ups and business. I am both honoured and proud to say I am a SheEO Activator and Semi-finalist in 2019 helping create a fairer future for women and our ventures. Join me in creating a perpetual fund for women in Australia.
The reality is diversity is just better. Several studies have shown diversity leads to more creative teams and increases a company’s performance. Research by Cloverpop has found that “diverse teams make better decisions up to 87% of the time”. Businesses that are more representative of the people and the world in which we live i.e. diverse teams, will take into account many more perspectives and help to build a world that reflects what we feel and know to be important. This is how we will create the Zebra companies of the future and heal the world.
There are many awesome male champions out there stepping up beside women to accelerate our representation. But as women, we really need to step up to the plate and do the work aswell. We need to believe that we can do it and challenge any impostor syndrome that crashes the party. Don’t wonder if there’s a seat at the table for you – assume that there is! And as females, we also absolutely must celebrate other women’s successes – another woman’s success is not a threat to you! In fact, it’s a very good sign that times are changing and there will be opportunities for you to realise your dreams aswell.
We look forward to a world where our differences are a thing of the past – gender, colour, race, religion etc. and everyone belongs and is fulfilled. This International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate all women, everywhere, in all their shapes and sizes and for whatever choices they have made about how they want to live their lives. We are equally deserving of a chance to live our dreams – let’s all do our part, pay it forward and ensure our daughters, nieces and granddaughters all have a smooth path.
Some suggestions for what you can do on IWD 2019
Get along to an International Women’s Day Event on Friday 8 March
There are so many great events happening across Australia and internationally. Some of the local Brisbane events are listed below:
- IWD Fun Run Brisbane, supporting Breast Cancer
- Queensland Association of State School Principals Inc. IWD Breakfast
- Women leading the building of circular economies for advancing Australia’s SDG 2030 Agenda
- Brisbane International Women’s Day Breakfast
What are you doing yourself to level-up?
Consider how you as a woman are challenging yourself to grow and be your personal best. This is not about comparing ourselves to other people (comparison is the ‘thief of joy’), but really going inside and unearthing our deepest goals and challenging any limiting assumptions about what we can achieve in the world. When was the last time you were really outside your comfort zone? It’s scary but also exhilarating – get out there.
How can you support other women?
Take the chance on International Women’s Day to shout out to all your female family members, friends and colleagues and congratulate them on a job well done. Also consider giving a gift that empowers other women – there are many great organisations helping to further #BalanceforBetter, see IWDs recommended Female-focused charities and foundations. Through acknowledging and supporting other women that balance will be achieved.
Eager for more female leadership content? Read about Yas’ experience at the SheEO Venture Retreat here!