This year’s campaign for International Women's Day (IWD), #EachForEqual, draws attention to the difference individuals can make. Each one of us has a chance to change the status quo and tackle the existing stereotypes and challenges that face women every day.
2020 marks a year in which we had grand ideals and the ambition to see 30% of women on boards (see the 30% Club's original aims). Although some markets have made great strides, many are still lagging behind e.g. Hong Kong at just 13.6%. In reality, little has changed regarding the representation of women in the corporate ranks at senior levels, despite major movements such as #MeToo serving to spark debate and awareness in recent years. The way things are going, complete gender equality may not be achieved for over 100 years.
What's the hold up?
Around the world, many of the structural and cultural barriers that existed when the 2020 commitments were first made, still exist. Change is hard, and the global representation of women in leadership positions and on boards just goes to prove it.
So what can be done?
We need to keep moving forward and not give up on the mission just because change is often unwelcome and progress is so slow.
In the past 12 months, since IWD 2019, the Meraki team has:
Placed 5 more women onto corporate boards and supported 6 to achieve not for profit board roles
Delivered shortlists including more than 30% women in the case of each and every one of our retained roles
Seen more than 50% of our appointments made in 2019 go to women
Supported 2 major companies with their talent mapping programmes
Spoken at or supported 10+ events focused on women leaders including MWC 2019
Our co-founder Kirti Lad has been recognized by Visa for their Who’s Next campaign – highlighting the fantastic work of female entrepreneurs and helping to tackle the barriers they face every day.
In addition, our Women’s Directorship Programme (delivered in partnership with The University of Hong Kong) continues to go from strength to strength:
Including the 2019 cohort, more than 130 women have now graduated as board ready from the Women’s Directorship Programme
More than 50% of the WDP alumni now hold their first board role – the programme is now in its eighth year
So, this year we challenge us all to make a difference, however small, to address the current imbalanced situation:
Let’s commit to tackling bias whenever we encounter it
Speak up, question why decisions are made in a certain way and review established practices on hiring and promotion
Champion one another other and highlight the great work done by your peers
Encourage others to challenge and stretch themselves – be there to support them.
Each for equal. Happy International Women’s Day to everyone. Let’s take this time to celebrate our colleagues, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends for all they do, but let’s ensure we treat them as they deserve to be treated everyday – as equals.
"An equal world is an enabled world"