Every year when International Women’s Day rolls around, I find myself wondering how we can make this day of recognition more meaningful. Will the day be significantly different in 2020? 2021? 2025?
“Happy International Women’s Day,” say all the Facebook posts, with hearts and flower emojis.
Company leaders send out emails of thanks, invite speakers, hosts luncheons, or give flowers to their women employees. All good, of course. But how do we make 2019 better? How do we turn the intentions of this ONE DAY--on which we honor and appreciate the contributions and influences of women all over the world-- into real and sustainable change?
It’s no shock to anyone that overall progress toward moving women into higher levels of leadership and decision-making influence has stagnated, even with all the attention and activity we’ve invested in pushing toward our targets of gender balance and gender equity.
A 2018 study conducted by McKinsey in partnership with LeanIn.Org concluded:
“Companies report that they are highly committed to gender diversity. But that commitment has not translated into meaningful progress. The proportion of women at every level in corporate America has hardly changed. Progress isn’t just slow. It’s stalled.”
Women in the Workplace, McKinsey 2018 https://womenintheworkplace.com/
The study cites several factors as the primary barriers to progress, including continued under-representation of women in the pipeline, everyday discrimination, racism and micro-aggressions, and continued pervasive sexual harassment.
So, what can we really do to do things differently?