We have been inspired and uplifted by the amazing events delivered by our PWN volunteer teams around the globe in celebration of International Women's Day 2015. For me, IWD 2015 included two events; one with the PWN Paris team and the OECD, and the other was a celebration of the launch of our newest publication, Mixité, featuring real life stories of male CEOs who are fearlessly leading balanced leadership practices across their organisations. These men successfully leverage IWD, and every day of the year, to amplify their goals around gender balanced leadership.
This got me thinking about WHY it’s imperative that organizations like PWN and companies continue to raise the volume each year on IWD. The journey continues. The attention to IWD certainly stimulates dialogue on the topic and in turn adds to the momentum on positive change. Raising awareness on why women go from 50% in the classroom to less than 20% in executive committees and on boards generates thinking around behaviors, habits, practices, company norms and leadership biases that many be unconsciously impeding progress. It gets men, women, decision makers, to go from learners to courageous action leaders on this topic.
Lifting up IWD builds a sense of solidarity on the topic across organizations, across genders and generations. It’s hard to ignore the topic if all global organizations are celebrating IWD inside their companies as a way to stay economically competitive. It’s worth highlighting that China based Alibaba with the largest IPO in history promotes women in leadership as their “secret sauce” to success. IWD brings these stories to light, and through stories the words turn into actions.
Building a better and more engaged culture is another motivating factor to create IWD awareness inside and outside of global organizations. Just think about how50% of the talent would feel if their company leaders (to whom they dedicate the majority of their waking hours) ignored this highly recognized, social, business and cultural 21st century leadership topic. It’s key to keeping half the talent engaged.
And finally, it makes perfect business sense in a global, complex and changing economy. Reducing blind spots through diversity - of thought, ideas and solutions. Male and female leaders will reap the benefits through more successful business outcomes as a result of gender balance teams.
Until we attain a level of equal opportunity and equal success across sectors, we need to keep celebrating IWD.
We look forward to the day when it's redundant and we can celebrate ILD (International Leaders' Day | Women & Men Leading TOGETHER).