Celebrate International Women’s Day With Action Today Aimed For A Fair Future

How will you mark International Women’s Day?We suggest spending March 8 and all week celebrating  women’s economic, political, cultural and societal contributions globally by seeing where we are, where we need to go and determining how you can take the lead to get there.CBS reports that the 2018 observance of International Women’s Day in more than 100 countries is set to be bigger than last year, which set a record.“As Facebook’s single biggest moment of 2017, this global celebration is all but certain to be one of the most hashtagged, most trending and most talked about events of 2018 and stands to eclipse last year’s widespread growth and accomplishments,” according to Randy Yagi atCBS Local. “This is an incredibly exciting time. For the first time in history, a resurgent women’s movement, women finding the power of their voices with #MeToo and Time’s Up, and a strong business case for gender parity in leadership have converged,” says Gloria Feldt, president and co-founder of Take The Lead. A new report released in time for International Women’s Day March 8, asserts that women leaders have six core competencies equipping them for success. Long-term thinking, innovation, collaboration, transparency, environmental management, and social inclusiveness are skillsets and styles that will help women achieve gender parity in leadership in the next 12 years.The United Nations study, Better Leadership, Better World: Women Leading for the Global Goals, shows that women’s leadership in business is critical to driving significant economic opportunities and better performance, as well as broader, long-term benefits for society and the environment by 2030.What began as a suggestion in 1910 a an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, grew into an international celebration the following year. To date, 27 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia celebrate International Women’s Day as an official national holiday, though the U.S. is not one. Still, this year marks 107 years of its existence and 43 years since the United Nations declared a global Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.[bctt tweet=“To date, 27 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia celebrate #InternationalWomensDay as an official national holiday” username=“takeleadwomen”]This year, the theme for IWD is #PressforProgress and means “motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.” Actions this year are to maintain a gender parity mindset, challenge stereotypes and bias, forge positive visibility of women. This aligns with the Take The Lead mission of reaching gender parity in leadership in all sectors by 2025.See Take The Lead’s 2017 coverage of IWD.Specific actions articulated by IWD under the gender parity mindset include the choice to: question any lack of women’s participation; identify alternatives that are more inclusive; nominate women for opportunities; always include and support women and think “50/50” as the goal.Challenging stereotypes means each person can question assumptions about women, challenge statements that limit women, always use inclusive language, work to remove barriers to women’s progress, and buy from retailers who position women in positive ways.To effectively increase the visibility of women, the IWD site suggests each person identify ways to make women more visible, extend opportunities to women first, assume women want opportunities until declined, select women as spokespeople, and leaders and support visible women.As an influencer, women can supportively call-out inappropriate behavior; campaign for equality in meaningful ways; lead by example via inclusive actions; be a role model for equality and actively contribute to changing the status quo.In order to effectively celebrate women, particularly on International Women’s Day, #PressForProgress suggests women believe achievement comes in many forms, value women’s individual and collective success, ensure credit is given for women’s contributions, celebrate women role models and their journeys, and support awards showcasing women’s success.[bctt tweet=“In order to effectively celebrate women, particularly on International Women’s Day, #PressForProgress suggests women believe achievement comes in many forms.” username=“takeleadwomen”]See Take The Lead’s IWD related coverage in 2017.Reaching the Global Goals, according to the UN report, and achieving gender equity in the workplace by 2030 will unlock more than $12 trillion in new market value that could be available to companies that create sustainable business models. Another study found women’s equality in the workplace could add as much as $28 trillion to global annual gross domestic product by 2025, the UN reports.Women in C-Suite, high-level management positions are better able to shift their business’s to achieve longer-term growth goals through collaborations, the study shows. The report features interviews with 25 senior women leaders from across diverse industries, including AXA, Credit Suisse, Mars, Symantec, Telenor, Thomson Reuters, and Unilever, as well as from major civil society organizations, including the African Development Bank, Ceres, the International Trade Union Confederation, the UN Global Compact, and Women’s World Banking.Yet these women at the top are the exception rather than the rule.Overall, women occupy just 15 percent of board seats worldwide. In the US, women account for five of all CEOs among S&P 500 companies. And in the United Kingdom, six women CEOs are in the FTSE 1000. In the 1,557 largest listed companies in 20 Asia- Pacific countries, measured by market value, women account for just 12.4 percent of board seats. In Africa, women hold 14.4 per cent of board seats at the 300 largest listed companies. In 2016, one study of 1,259 listed companies in Latin American and Caribbean countries showed that on average 8.5 percent of board members were women.See Take The Lead’s IWD coverage in 2014. According to the report, companies integrating the Global Goals into their core strategies, pursuing gender equality, not only in leadership but throughout the business, offers significant opportunities – economic and commercial as well as social and environmental.Credit Suisse found that companies where women make up at least 15 percent of senior managers have been found to demonstrate more than 18 percent higher profitability than those where female representation is less than 10 percent, and companies with a woman as CEO experienced 19 percent higher profitability.“Take The Lead’s program is the solution for companies ready to turn this opportunity into reality. And our 50 Women Can Change the World training creates cohorts of women who support each other’s advancement as well as gaining skills and higher intentions for their own advancement,” says Feldt.So celebrate International Women’s Day March 8 by supporting other women and taking action to advance yourself.