Now more than ever, our words and actions have the power to make a difference. As women, we have made great strides in the workplace through personal engagement and collaboration. But inequality persists. The benefits of gender equality and equal pay aren’t just economic. They are far-reaching across social and geographic boundaries— and guide many of us when we face crossroads in our lives and careers. Our collective commitment to raise the bar increases our chances of successfully addressing mega-challenges facing our organizations and society from improving the environment and increased sustainability to healthy living in smarter cities.
An inclusive workforce brings amazing opportunities for those inspired to blaze their own trail. While women are making gains in some STEM fields, the pipeline of female graduates in computer science and engineering has been dropping, At the same time, the rate at which women leave high-tech jobs is more than twice as high than it is for men. The future of work creates is a huge opportunity for today’s generation of girls who are preparing to enter a workforce that is being transformed by AI and automation. Couple that with a recent study which reports that gender diversity is correlated with both profitability and a competitive advantage through resiliency, validating that better inclusion strategies result in stronger and more competitive organizations.
What does all this mean? It means that increasing opportunities for women isn’t a zero-sum game: Everyone wins when women are better represented. Being a leader who matters can start with mentorship. Having been a part of big, technology-driven change management efforts in multiple industries, it’s clear that digital transformation requires inspirational leadership. Having a coach or a personal board of directors in your corner can help you engage your people and lead through change. In turn, this fuels creative thinking and innovation, which often starts by examining how our everyday experiences create opportunity. My gratitude for the mentors who have helped me throughout my career runs deep. These role models carved out a secure place for me to pose questions, brainstorm ideas and seek encouragement or a helping hand. Female mentors can make a huge difference, in part simply by their presence. Just knowing of the existence of women in important leadership roles is a potent reminder that success is not only possible, but highly probable. Mentors can help break down barriers, stereotypes and gender biases that unfortunately still permeate the working world. How do you know if you harbor unconscious gender bias? Unconscious gender biases can affect our business judgment and hiring decision, even if we are unaware of them. Asking yourself the question and taking the gender bias test to uncover and understand these hidden biases is your first step.
Working together on a global scale for a better tomorrow can and will result in a better future for everyone. We are all change agents, and the opportunity to have a positive impact is in front of us. Knowledge is power. Action brings change and greater opportunities for women to benefit us all.
Juliet’s recommended book: