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WARNING: This will be hard to read

Tuesday March 7th, 2017 in In the News, Ampersand Latest

Because it’s written in…BOLD. That’s right, the entire piece. 

But let’s not focus on the font – we women mastered that centuries ago. Truly we did. 

Today is International Women’s Day #BeBoldforChange. 

All over the world today, we will witness and be part of movements that celebrate the journey women have travelled, across time, through centuries, to get to where we are today. An improved version of ourselves, some may say. Really? We’ve actually always been here, whole. Ready. What allows us to express our intellect, passions, opinions, emotions and actions, are the trailblazers before us. Those women, and some men, who have showed the strength of will and courage to go where women haven’t been welcome before. To wear pants without being ridiculed or called unfeminine; to walk down the street unaccompanied without our children in toe; to leave home by 7.30am to get to work on time…as administrators; and to enter the boardroom, in whatever its form, with rights, credibility and unconscious acceptance.

Are we there yet? 

Unfortunately no. But we as a collective, modern society are trying. I do believe that or need to believe that. Not hard enough in many instances but there are glimmers of greatness in others. As individuals, women, as people living and working together as communities, we need to remind ourselves that it isn’t our role to ‘lean in’ – it’s our birth right. It’s not imposing to ask for a salary review or throw our hat in the ring for a promotion because we’ve earned it through sheer delivery, hard work and leadership. It’s not an honour to be offered a seat at the Executive Table; it’s simply required for balanced perspective, increased emotional intelligence (the key common element that determines good leadership from great) and for an authentic societal view on our customers, our people, publics, stakeholders and shareholders alike. In fact, it is an unprogressive, poor commercial case in business should anything other than equal female representation be tabled. 

The issue however is greater than meets the eye. We’ll come across plenty of opinion pieces that will be penned today. I’m not here for that. I certainly have my views and surprising to many who know me, I don’t consider myself a feminist. I don’t believe in this as a modern movement – not that I don’t hold incredible respect for the brave and courageous women of our past generations who have stood up against all odds to drive change to allow for today’s debate to even exist – but rather, I simply hold the view that we were empowered to bring about that same generational change the day we were born. I strongly believe it’s up to us, as individuals, not females or males. Our world exists because of our pasts and histories. That can’t be changed. But it can certainly inspire us to drive our futures, together. To make real, sustainable, needed change for equality, diversity and inclusion in all its forms. This isn’t just about the great gender debate. As collective communities and teams we need to listen, show empathy, understanding and respect for those who differ from ourselves, in any form. 

For those of us likely to even have access to this blog, and others, we are more fortunate than our sisters living – surviving – in less privileged cultures and countries. Even some of those with privilege, still lawfully choose to abandon the common human right of freedom, equality and basic human rights. That is the real change needed in today’s world in my humble view. 

I look forward to reading the stories of our generation and for our daughters (figuratively speaking) to grow up in a world where equality, acceptance, intellect, tolerance and empowerment are not simply pleasant descriptors of what we’ve achieved with a better statistic attached to it than the generations before us. The day I look forward to is when there is no debate. It’s no longer up for discussion. It’s irrelevant because we’re there.  

We need to fight for what we believe in, the values we live by, the journeys we’ll die by.  All of us.

To the incredibly courageous, forthright, creative, brave and beautiful women of yesteryear who got us here and the women of today and beyond, happy International Women’s Day for whatever it means to you, in your world, today. 

#BeBoldforChange

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