This year’s International Women’s Day 2021 campaign theme – #ChooseToChallenge – comes at a time on the planet where we have been challenged in ways we could not have predicted.
We are living through a VUCA world – dominated by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – and are faced with mounting environmental, societal, economic, political, cultural and human challenges that call for us all to take action, take responsibility – and find a way to problem solve together to create solutions for lasting, equitable and impactful change, for the benefit of all.
But change will only happen when we each step up to challenge ourselves to make our individual choices, thoughts, words and actions count – every single day.
Change starts with challenging status quo.
Change starts with asking hard questions.
Change starts with challenging what we think we know.
And real change starts with recognising – and then calling out – inequality, gender stereotypes, injustice and unconscious bias.
I choose to challenge by upskilling and mentoring today’s generation for the workforce of tomorrow through our work at Future Amp and girledworld with 1000’s of students and industries across Australia.
I choose to challenge as a business mentor by championing the rights of women; engaging in advocacy for structural organisational changes to create more leadership opportunities for women; and by amplifying and shining a light on women’s achievements, whenever I can.
I choose to challenge as an investor, both privately, globally through SheEO, and at Working Theory Angels, by backing female founders, because I know that for every $1 invested, female founders return 78 cents compared with just 31 cents from male founders. So female founders offer investors 2.5x more return than their male counterparts! A compelling figure for any investor wondering which startup to back.
And as a mother of four daughters, I choose to challenge every single day by doing not saying, learning not teaching, and listening not speaking, so that each of them – in time – can step into a world that is ready to welcome the challenges they each choose to seek.
We’ve still got a long way to go to achieve gender equality.
But I choose to challenge, today – and in all the tomorrows I’ve got – until we get there.
How will you choose to challenge?