The World Economic Forum predicts it will take until 2133 to achieve gender parity.
Wait... what? The year 2133? That’s 117 years from now, people. Do we really want to wait four generations to achieve what we know will be a world-shifting balance? NO.
This isn't just about supporting equal pay for women (although it definitely includes that). This year's campaigns for gender parity make it clear that businesses must harness female talent to really succeed and thrive.
Studies show that organizations most inclusive of women in top management perform up to 35% better than their peers. This study finds that an organization with 30 percent female leaders could add up to 6 percentage points to its net margin.
The bigger picture, then, is to value women equally as leaders - to bring balance to pay grade, yes, but also to respect and value women's unique talents in the business, economic and political world. In this way we not only ensure that women are able to rise to positions of power, we also encourage men to incorporate more feminine leadership traits into their repertoires, resulting in a more prosperous climate for all.
Here's what you can do to accelerate the movement. Make the Pledge for Parity. Pledge to call for gender-balanced leadership. Pledge to illuminate paths to leadership for girls and women. Pledge to explode both conscious and unconscious bias and to stay open to new points of view, for yourself, your company and the world.
Are you in?
Keep yourself inspired this International Women's Day with these wise words from passionate leaders who remind us why equality can't wait 117 years...
"We are here not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers." - Emmeline Pankhurst
"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." - Rebecca West
“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.” - Michelle Obama
"If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place." - Margaret Mead
"In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued." - Aung Sang Suu Kyi
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” - Audre Lorde
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” - Sheryl Sandberg
"We've chosen the path to equality, don't let them turn us around." - Geraldine Ferraro
"As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." - Virginia Woolf