So today is free choice in the Wego Health Activists Writers’ Month Challenge (#HAWMC)….so I am going way off topic to one of my other passions….gender equality….stay with me peeps…you can do it!
Female leaders need to be daring. We need to live on the edge. Way out on the edge where others don’t dare to go. That’s where we need to be. We cannot afford to follow the already beaten path, we have to set out to create an entirely new one if we are to breakdown the barriers to gender equality that are still so evident in business and leadership globally.
Recently Susan Adams from Forbes wrote a very thought provoking article on female board membership around the world. Her article highlights the appallingly low numbers of women on corporate boards. According to Adams the country with the highest female board membership is Norway. Being number one on her list, sadly, is not cause for Norwegians to break out into national celebrations. Even as the highest ranked country the percentage of female board membership was still only 36%. That really is appalling and an indictment on the many, clearly inadequate ways government and business have tried to address the issue of attracting and retaining women in positions of leadership.
More daring do governments, please! Change must happen and it needs to start at the grass roots, in the education and economic empowerment of women around the globe. Quotas, and other programs for increasing the representation of women in leadership, are useless if women do not have access to high quality education that involves them being encouraged to graduate from high school and have access to tertiary education options. Much more daring do I say! However, government will not come around to major policy shifts without us being the creators of that change. Be political, lobby, advocate! Be a creator of change.
Female leaders need to be mindful. Be present. We are not just here for ourselves, well we shouldn’t be, if we want all of the women to come to have access to leadership opportunities in the future. Come on ladies, let’s act on our shared responsibility to the next generation of female leaders and business women. Mentor, coach, share your expertise. Not only will your mentees benefit, but you will too.
Jo Miller, Founding Editor of Be Leaderly and CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc., has put her money where her mouth is by starting a business entirely dedicated to assisting emerging female leaders to achieve the career advancement they are seeking in both management and leadership roles. Jo’s team run a 12 month long webinar series for emerging women leaders. Jo has so much daring do. Kudos to you Jo. Your work, and the work of other women like you is just what we need. I highly recommend subscribing for Be Leaderly email updates.
Female leaders need to do more. We need to be the creators of the change we want to see. Step up! Speak up! Sign up! Whatever suits you, but do something.
The hashtag Lean In Together, and the movement associated with it, were the brain-child of Sheryl Sandberg (CEO of Facebook). Lean In provides support and resources for women to achieve their aspirations. The Lean In team focus on building a supportive community, education offerings, and monthly meet-ups where women can find encouragement and support. Now how’s that for some daring do? Lean In aims to make a real contribution to the lives of women, and that is something I would challenge all women to think about doing. Make an impact! We are all in this together, so help a sister out.
He for She is another social media phenomenon but one with a very important message. A solidarity movement championed by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, He for She calls on women and men to unite for gender equality. Now that is really daring do and it’s also extremely important. We are all humans, we cannot exist without the other. Gender equality is not a war, nor is it a women’s issue. Gender equality is a human issue and it is good for everyone. Be a champion for equality, whether by supporting movements like He for She or in whatever way you can. It’s all good!
Erin O’Dwyer, from the Daily Life site in Australia, recently asserted her daring do in an article that challenged readers to think about the way working mother’s are treated in the workplace, and the negative impact that has on their career paths and leadership opportunities. Her article pointed out that whilst many women saw a short-term benefit from more flexible workplace practices available to working mothers, there were many more longer-term penalties to women’s careers for choosing to be take time off to be care-givers. Articles like Erin’s are challenging convention and conventional thinking on working mothers. Challenge is something we should all get on board with. Challenge needs to be a daily part of our lives. Just because it is, doesn’t make it right people!
Stand up and be a daring doer. Women and men. All of us, together, being daring doers will create the change needed. So get out there and dare to do.