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As I hobble home at the end of a long but inspiring #IWD2017 full of great energy, I reflect on the day that was in it.
Today kicked off with an early (too early) cry from the two main women in my life, two of tomorrow’s leaders – my baby girls – at 5.30a.m.
And then it was on to the business of the day…
As I participated in and listened to the discussions across social media, in organisations and on the airwaves, I wonder what the discussions will be around International Women’s Day thirty years from now when my little girls are navigating their own career paths.
Is it too much to hope that the gender pay gap will be no more?
I hope that we won’t need to have gender quotas. There are pros and cons but if quotas are needed to drive a culture shift and they serve a purpose, then maybe they are a necessary short-term evil.
I hope that young women starting in their careers will have many female role models ahead of them who inspire them. Women who are authentic and who have succeeded on their terms and who our young talent look to emulate.
I hope the mindset and culture shift has happened at executive level in organisations, which allows for diversity of success. I hope that putting in excessively long hours, at the cost of so much else, is not a pre-requisite for succeeding.
I hope the focus will be on the value you bring and the impact that you have (on the business and developing your talent). I hope that flexible working arrangements will be more of a norm, not just for women, and will not have a career limiting impact.
Is that too much to ask?
Men. Yes, I’m also going to speak about men on International Women’s Day. One of my big takeaways from today was the gender diversity at each of the women’s events I attended. Men who want to be part of the conversation. Men who are sponsoring change and have no fear in getting behind gender diversity. This brings me great hope.
Alastair McMenamin of Zurich Insurance Ireland also spoke about this. Some men are lost when it comes to this conversation. Some aren’t sure what to say in case it’s the wrong thing so avoid engaging in the discussion on women and diversity at all.
I hope that I’ve contributed to the discussion and that I’ve inspired the women and men that I spoke to today, to take the reins on navigating their own career. There are organisational and cultural challenges that many companies are grappling with and trying to address. But there is also an onus on us to inch the agenda forward. We as women have our own role to play including driving the conversation. Seek the opportunities and don’t wait to be asked. Push the boundaries. Make sure that you’re visible and bring your best self to work. Don’t hold back from being all that you can be. Influence, manage upwards and own it.
But right now, my hope comes back to my little women, that they won’t wake up at 5.30a.m. tomorrow morning.
Happy International Women’s Day 2017.
Let’s keep the conversation going…I’d love to hear from you.