Today’s a BIG day…it’s International Women’s Day! However, this holiday doesn’t even appear on my calendar, and it certainly doesn’t get the same fanfare, fireworks, food spreads, or fun parades as some other holidays, but it should. (Read to the end, and I’ll help you celebrate in a big way!)
How is it that my calendar lets me know the first official day of each season and when I’m supposed to recognize Grandparent’s Day, yet it completely ignores the opportunity to raise awareness for and to celebrate women around the world?
This isn’t even a new holiday. International Women’s Day started in 1909, but it was in 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited its member states to proudly proclaim March 8th the UN Day for women’s rights and worldwide peace.
Today, International Women’s Day is a global day dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women throughout the world. It’s also a day that encourages action to accelerate gender parity.
It’s hard to believe that in 2017 women are still lagging behind in almost every category…leadership, pay, and overall gender equality. The World Economic Forum predicted that we wouldn’t achieve global gender parity until 2095, and the gender gap wouldn’t close completely until 2133. Don’t check my math, but I think my daughter’s granddaughter will be a (great?) grandmother by then…!
Staggering statistics in a Harvard Business Review article reveal the rapid decline of women as they move up in an organization. More than half of all employees are women at the lowest levels, but that number drops off significantly at each successively higher level: women make up 53% of new hires, 37% of supervisors, 30% of managers, 26% of vice presidents, 14% of senior executives, and 3% of CEOs.
Not only does this defy basic common sense, it defies good business sense. Statistics don’t lie! It has been proven many times over that the companies that perform best financially have the greatest number of women in leadership positions, according to a new study and worldwide survey conducted by the HR consulting firm DDI and the nonprofit business research group The Conference Board. The companies that produce financially at the top 20% report that 27% of their leaders are women. In contrast, the bottom 20% of financial performers report only 19% of women in leadership roles.
Across industries, countries, and companies, men and women alike agree that more female leadership leads to stronger, healthier, and more profitable organizations. Women have a positive impact on culture, productivity, results, relationships, collaboration, teamwork, motivating and developing others, spearheading change and innovation, taking initiative, establishing stretch goals, and practicing self-development and personal growth.
There seems to be no end to what we can accomplish and the benefits we can bring when we are in positions of leadership. The bottom line is that everyone wins when we encourage, promote, and celebrate women in leadership roles.
I understand that trying to wrap your mind around this international issue may seem daunting and overwhelming, and so much needs to be done to positively affect change on a global scale. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t positively affect change nationally, locally, and personally.
Here are 10 ways celebrate International Women’s Day and make a difference:
- Be a mentor to a female colleague or young woman
- Join a professional women’s group or chamber of commerce that supports gender parity
- Nominate a female colleague (or yourself) for an award
- Recommend a female colleague on LinkedIn
- Encourage a co-worker (or yourself) to go for that promotion or plumb assignment
- Invest in your own development and growth, build your confidence, and take a risk
- Make a pledge to internationalwomensday.com and show your support with #PledgeForParity
- Choose to be a champion and cheerleader, not a competitor, of other women
- Don’t be afraid to be the only woman in the room, and grab that seat at the table
- Attend Women ON Point: Next Level Leadership… womenonpointleadership.com
Recognizing the critical nature of this issue, and continuing my passion and commitment of empowering women to pull on their big-girl panties and reach their full potential, I have partnered with Pam Borton and Sara Lebens to create Women ON Point. If you are looking to polish your leadership skills, skyrocket your confidence, and surround yourself with other female leaders, this is the event for you.
Women ON Point offers a premier development, networking, and growth opportunity designed and delivered exclusively for and by top-performing, professional women. The next leadership summit will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on July 19-21. Feel free to visit our website at www.womenonpointleadership.com to learn more, see video testimonials, and read success stories.
In honor of the holiday, and to celebrate women everywhere, I am announcing a special offer to any woman who wants to invest in herself and her leadership skills by attending Women ON Point. Contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) for this special offer and I will help you celebrate International Women’s Day in a big way!!