I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate all of the smart, talented, hard-working women across this world on International Women's Day.
I’m also incredibly blessed to have grown up in a place where women have equal opportunities to work, to vote, to speak their mind.
I know the freedoms I have weren’t always a given—and there were many woman before me who fought incredibly hard to give women the opportunities we have today. Opportunities that not everyone in this world is blessed with.
But I also hope that one day, we don’t need to have an International Women’s Day.
I hope that one day women will simply be seen as equals in this world. So equal that we won’t need a special day to remind people that we should celebrate the incredible women in our lives.
You see, having women in the workplace isn’t just a social imperative; it’s a business imperative. Companies with women on their leadership teams outperform those that don’t. The same goes for companies with women on their boards.
So why does the task of simply being “equal” seem so daunting. According to the World Economic Forum it will take another 118 years to close the income gap between men and women. That means my 4-year-old daughter and all of our daughters will be fighting the same fight we are fighting today for at least the next four generations. What will it take to finally close the gap?
I wish I had the answer. But what I do know is that as women leaders we must continue to try. As women leaders, we must lift up other women. We must show women that it is not only OK but imperative that we speak our minds and provide our points of view. We need to stop qualifying our statements (well I don’t really know the answer but…”), and give each other the confidence to be exactly who we are. To say what we think. To not be afraid to ask for that promotion or that raise. We must #beboldforchange.
So, until the day the world sees women, all women, as equal I will continue to celebrate International Women’s Day and all of the wonderful women I am blessed to know, and work with. Women who challenge and inspire me every single day.
And I hope one day—fewer than 118 years from now—we’ll have an equal seat at the table where we can celebrate each other every day, and not just on the one day the world has deemed ours for now.
|Julie Purser is brand builder and associate partner at Prophet. She originally posted this piece on LinkedIn on International Women's Day.|