This year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter, is one that is especially close to my heart.
It is a campaign, calling out to everyone, not just women, to play their part and build a gender-balanced world.
Why? Because a gender-balanced world, is a better world.
But here’s the kicker: For a woman to be empowered outside, she has to be empowered within first. A gender-balanced business world, outside world, begins with a gender-balanced inner world.
For too many years, I saw the role of a woman as a dichotomy. The three options in my mind were:
- You were a good mom/wife/daughter
- You had a kickass career.
- If you attempted both 1 and 2, you would fall short in both.
I have witnessed, to their own detriment, countless women (and men!) feed into this same line of faulty thinking. And that is exactly what it is. Faulty. False. Incorrect.
We must eradicate the belief that a woman cannot excel at both home (inside) and work (outside) simultaneously. Because with this kind of belief system, #BalanceforBetter will NEVER exist.
I was blessed a couple years ago to be able to start doing some really fulfilling work. I was terrified at first, truly believing it would negatively impact my family. But you know what? With a little extra planning and rearranging of priorities, that work became the best thing for me AND my family.
The feeling of contributing my skills and talents to society at large, to the business world, was incredible and liberating. Something I truly believe every woman deserves to experience. Something every woman SHOULD experience.
So, in a way, this year’s theme #BalanceforBetter, is not just women’s territory. It is for anyone and everyone who cares about building thriving economies and communities.
Why? Because women see the world through a different lens. They add a different kind of value (Note I said different, not better), a greater diversity, and new perspectives, especially relating to relationships.
Diverse boards are better able to respond to global markets and customer needs. In fact, one study by McKinsey & Company titled, Women Matter, has actually proven that gender diversity was an asset in relation to brand image, customers, shareholders and employee satisfaction.
So yes, we need our women to go out and excel in the outside and business world. But that cannot happen without collective action and shared responsibility. As Gloria Steinem put it:
The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.
The very least we can do is support and empower our fellow sisters who are blazing a trail for the rest of us to follow. To encourage them at every turn and be there to lift them up, instead of pulling them down.
And to all my lovely sisters out there who dream of making a difference in the bigger world but feel like it can never be reality: It can be, and it WILL be. Always remember your incredible strength and value, and that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. We are here to support you. And together, we will each achieve our own #BalanceforBetter, one step at a time.
Happy International Women’s Day!