International Women’s Day: A Global Call to Action
March 8, 2017
By Mia Mends
Today on International Women’s Day (IWD), we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women everywhere. But IWD marks more than just a day of celebration. It’s also a global call to action to accelerate gender parity where it is lacking.
Shockingly, the World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t truly be closed until 2186! That’s why campaigns like IWD are necessary—to help drive change through targeted action and move us all closer to a more gender-inclusive world. This requires each of us—individuals, businesses, and organizations—to step up and “Be Bold for Change.”
If women are not equally represented in businesses and institutions, it means those organizations are not operating optimally from an economic or social perspective, and that’s disadvantageous for everybody. In the HR industry, many of our buyers are women, which makes it critical that we have women partners in positions of leadership.
I am deeply conscious of how fortunate I am to have a meaningful and gratifying senior leadership position, but I am also aware of how hard I had to work to reach this level and the role others have played in my career journey. I am particularly inspired by the incredible women who have broken barriers and paved the way for other potential leaders.
I’m proud to lead a company that embraces the values of diversity and inclusion and fosters an environment where everyone can thrive in our culture and with the education, programs, and opportunities we provide.
In turn, I have an obligation to share my experience and mentor others, especially young women and girls. I believe that if you can reach a girl at the right moment in life and help her build capability and confidence, it positively defines the trajectory of her life. It’s powerful, and I’ve seen it happen firsthand many times.
We can all do more to support women in business and society. For me, it’s part of my personal mission and it’s tightly connected to my profession in employee engagement. The ability for people to see themselves reflected in their workplace and to bring their whole selves to work is part of our employee engagement mission, “Bring Joy to Work.” After all, creating an inclusive workplace environment is a vital part of bringing joy to work and improving the quality of life of those we serve.
Simply put, organizations that are gender-balanced are better performers. When women reach their full potential, businesses and societies are stronger and more successful.
International Women’s Day is a great time to decide how you or your organization will do your part to advance gender parity. The IWD movement asks us to “Be Bold for Change,” and that action can be large or small, depending on your starting point. Some of the suggestions offered at internationalwomensday.com include:
- Take a junior woman to a client or sales meeting
- Challenge organizers of all-male speaking panels
- Launch a purposeful female-focused initiative
- Nominate women for senior jobs
- Donate time to a female-focused charity
- Mentor a woman
- Form a support network
We all have something to give. Use your gifts. Find ways to give voice and power to others who are still searching for theirs. Today’s a perfect day to start, but it’s not a one-day effort. Keep it going and build on it.