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International Women’s Day: I’m not just a token woman – I have a lot to offer

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A few years ago, I wrote an article about the lack of female thought leaders in society and business and I was looking it over as I wrote this piece. It dawned on me that not much has progressed since I wrote it, despite the world as a whole coming on leaps and bounds in other areas.

My first article back in 2010 was inspired by news of reforms that were designed to shake up the boardroom and allow women to gain a more even ground in top leadership positions. At the time, I said:

“Men will begin to face fiercer competition, as women begin to fight their way to the top. Women will still have their work cut out though, as they’ve got a lot of ground to cover to get up to the same representation as men and they’ll have to work twice as hard to prove they are up to the jobs. But it certainly won’t be easy for those men currently holding the top positions.”

Fast forward to 2014 and while there has been a slight shift in the balance of power, it is still nowhere near enough. 

There is, sadly, still a huge shortfall of visible female leaders in business, at conferences, in the bookstores. Women on boards is talked about all the time, but I’m not sure how much actual progress is being made.  

As the multi-award-winning owner of a million-dollar business, with 25 years of business and marketing experience, many industry accolades and academic qualifications, I anticipated being invited to join at least one company board by now, but it is always my male colleagues who seem to get the opportunities. I don’t just want to be a token woman; I have a lot of real value to offer, but so far it is still a big challenge to break in.

That’s why I really support International Women’s Day, as any opportunity to give women a platform to showcase their skills, expertise and be recognised for their contribution is always going to be valuable. 

It provides a forum for women to be seen and heard, and for forward-thinking organisations to show they are not only giving women opportunities but proactively promoting them and their work.

Many people have been held back or even hurt by the recent recession. A major change is needed, in our economy and in society as a whole.  This year’s theme of inspiring change creates positive energy and allows people to come together to support a new way of doing business and achieving success.

So, in keeping with the theme of “Inspiring Change”, I hope that International Women’s Day continues to be an opportunity to focus on supporting our extremely talented women to help them achieve the success they deserve. But, until women feel accepted, empowered, recognised and rewarded accordingly, there is still more work to be done.  

We can celebrate successes, but we must also strive to improve opportunities for women who want to be more, give more and achieve more.

Mindy Gibbins-Klein is a multi-award winning business owner, thought-leadership strategist, author and publisher.

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