International Women’s Day is a focal point for all the good work that goes on throughout the year, and around the globe, in the pursuit of better lives, opportunities and equality for women.
As I reflect on some of the work we have been involved in this year, I note that our involvement in projects that help women and girls gives me the greatest sense of achievement and personal reward.
We have been working with Clore Social Leadership since 2010, supporting their programmes for developing leaders in the social sector. Their purpose is to provide support and challenge so they feel empowered to transform communities, organisations and the world around them.
In particular, they have 2 programmes for both experienced and Emerging leaders working on Women’s and Girls programmes; I am delighted that action learning is being used in both to help them develop personally and professionally to aid them in their challenging work.
Valuing women’s contributions to the world
I was interested to read the article in last weekend’s Guardian by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF. In it, she stated that more women in the workplace, in the worst performing countries for gender equality, could boost their economies by 35%, if ‘they abandoned discriminatory laws and took advantage of the skills women have to offer’. It’s incredible to think that 88% of countries still have restrictions against women in the workplace embedded in their constitution and law and I’m pleased to see that a powerful woman has brought this issue to the fore.
Since joining the organisation in 2011, she has made female empowerment a key goal for the IMF and it’s interesting also to hear her concerns over the possible backlash against women following the success of the #MeToo movement. We need more dialogue around this issue to ensure that the positives of #MeToo, and its strong message to the world that things must change, remain dominant.
We published a story from a trained action learning facilitator last Autumn which I also found inspirational. Alessandra Gariboldi is Head of Research and Development at Fitzcarraldo in Italy. She was kind enough to share her experiences of action learning and how it has shaped her career in more ways than she expected and the impact it has had on her life as she has gone on to achieve great things. You can read her account here.
More to be done
You may be interested in a report, published this week from the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, Chaired by Julia Gillard, ex PM of Australia. She visited the UK to help highlight the issues women still face, as revealed in a report based on their global research. The study shows that around the world, people rightly believe that gender equality has not gone far enough. Attitudes to male and female roles are changing, but there is still a way to go. You can read What the World Thinks About Women’s Equality here.
Whatever you are doing to celebrate International Women’s’ Day, do take time to reflect on your own achievements.
Happy International Women’s day!