Just for today, let’s drop the conversation about:
how far women still have to go when it comes to battling inequality,
how the pay gap continues to prevail,
why there are not enough women in board rooms,
and how glass ceilings hold so many females back from reaching their goals.
While this important debate continues to rage in a new era of women’s rights, I think it is time to take a step back and in the spirit of International Women’s Day , revel in the power of women and what they have been able to achieve in the last 50 years.
Forbes List the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, this is just an example of the scale of what there is to celebrate. A quick glance at the diversity of women and the number of different ‘traditional male roles’ they now occupy compared to the 1960s certainly makes for satisfying reading! Despite underlying gender inequalities and misconceptions this group now make up the world’s leading politicians, bankers, CEOS, cultural icons and entrepreneurs using their position of power to set new standards and inspire the next generation that need their guidance.
So what does success look like for women now? Let’s take Cher Wang and Ursula Burns for example. These women from very different backgrounds head up two of the biggest companies in the world. Cher is the Cofounder and Chair of HTC and VIA Technologies which reported revenues of $9.8 billion in 2010 and Ursula is the CEO of Xerox, a market leader in document technology. Wang at 52 is the maker of more than one out of every 5 smartphones on the market and has an estimated net worth of $6.8 billion. Burns is the first African American woman to run a major public U.S. corporation and after a $6.4 billion acquisition now has 134,000 employees under her wing. How have these two women been able to achieve this entrepreneurial and boardroom success? Could the answer be that their personal power combined with important political shifts has propelled them to the top?
Women are not just making a difference in the boardroom they are influencing the next generation as cultural icons. Take Lady Gaga who is 11th and the highest ranking celebrity on the list. This Grammy Award winning singer pushes the boundaries of entertainment as well as forcing her fans and critics to think outside the box with her outlandish style, playfulness with gender stereotypes (she has a male alter-ego called Jo Caldrone) and philanthropy. Gaga (born Stefanie Germanotta) is adored by 36 million fans on Facebook user to reach 12 million followers, something not even President Obama could boast. Clearly this woman holds an important position for a generation looking for an idol, which she takes very seriously- raising over $200 million to fight HIV and AIDS with makeup company MAC and this year setting up an anti-bullying charity called The Born this Way Foundation . Speaking at Harvard University for the launch of the campaign the singer said on her move: “I believe that if you have revolutionary potential, you must make the world a better place and use it.”
Never before have women been more powerful and able to change the world for the better.
Who are your female role models?
What could you do to make the most of your opportunities as a woman?
How could you use your revolutionary potential?
Have a fantastic International Women’s Day!!!!
ps. I have a book coming out in June entitled Rocking Your Role – The ‘how to’ guide for Female Breadwinners, sign up to our newsletter by adding your email in the box at the top right of this page to be kept informed.