As International Women’s Day approached us on the 8th of March, I have been reflecting on how women in leadership are becoming a force to be reckoned with in this new world of ours. The fight for equality and recognition of women is not a new one. The pandemic has also highlighted, even more than before, the tenacity and Leadership Skills of so many women around the globe. It leaves me with a feeling of great pride and gives me such hope for our future, and that of my daughter, when I see the impact these women have had.
With the onset of the global pandemic in early 2020, the world, as we know it, has been turned upside down. Watching world leaders grapple with decisions on how best to handle the situation in their own countries and the effect that has had on the global community has brought to the fore their various strengths and weaknesses. Studies have shown that countries led by woman dealt systematically better with the crisis than their male lead counterparts.
A couple of bastions for me are Jacinda Ardern. Her swift decisive decision making ability in the very early onset of the pandemic bringing about the “widest-ranging and toughest border restriction of any country in the world”. Ardern holistically addressed both the economic and human consequences of the pandemic and New Zeeland became one of the first countries to, all but, eradicate the virus.
Then there is a real-life superhero, Professor Sarah Gilbert, a veteran Oxford scientist who, together with her team, have worked tirelessly to develop a coronavirus vaccine which, is reported, to offer up to 90 per cent protection against the COVID-19 virus. As a mother of triplets, Sarah Gilbert maintained that this trained her well for the many sleepless months that would be required to release this vaccine in such a short space of time.
In a study undertaken by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), it was shown that countries that are led by women performed significantly better in their reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the outcomes related to this global disaster.
While these world leaders have given us so much inspiration in the way they have handled recent events, I would be remiss in writing this blog without mentioning the hundreds and thousands of unsung women in our own communities. This pandemic has seen women thrust into the limelight again as we have turned to them to take care of others and make do under extraordinary circumstances.
From Mums having to step up and figure out how to run their homes during the lockdown, homeschool their children and set up home offices for those who could continue to work remotely, to the incredible frontline responders around the world working tirelessly in our clinics, emergency rooms, hospitals and makeshift COVID wards, the majority of which have been woman, their efforts have been nothing short of legendary and have certainly given our young women of today worthy role models to look up to.
This year the UN theme of International Women’s Day is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. It is about celebrating the tremendous efforts of women and girls around the globe in bringing about an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence. It is about having hope for a future that is sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. “The world needs women at every table where decisions are being made”
When I look around the globe at Women in leadership and in my own microcosm at Women In leadership, I am excited to see how women are leading…how they are setting an example of true Leadership…leading with Heart, Integrity, Compassion, Vulnerability and Empathy. I believe that what makes women so powerful in their role as Leaders is their level of self-awareness. This makes them, more than anything, Authentic.
I am truly excited when I think of my daughter and can honestly say that the world is her oyster.