This year’s campaign theme for International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March is ‘Balance for Better’. The theme speaks to the idea that balance in the workplace is not a “women’s issue” — it’s a business issue, and essential for economies and communities to thrive.
In support of this year’s theme, LinkedIn’s editorial team asked a collection of women from around the world a set of pre-determined questions to share their experiences as #WomenAtWork. Notable women included Prime Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, Princess Beatrice, Australian Netball Captain, Caitlin Basset, OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn, Melinda Gates, Tribeca Investments Portfolio Manager, Jun Bei Liu, Goldman Sach’s Chief Japan Strategist, Kathy Matsui, CEO and Founder of The Lip Bar, Melissa Butler. Our principal consultant, Felicity Menzies, also participated in the project and warmly thanks Natalie MacDonald @LinkedIn for the opportunity to share her perspective and promote gender equality on a global scale.
From Monday 4th March to IWD on Friday 8th March, LinkedIn’s editorial team released a daily video montage of answers to set questions regarding women’s experiences as #WomenAtWork.
Below, you can find the questions and their associated release date along with the video montages. Felicity has also provided her written response to each question.
Qu. 1: Monday 4th March, “How did you get your first big break?”
Felicity’s answer: Whenever I have wanted to make a big move in my career, I’ve asked for it. Working hard in the hope you’ll get noticed and be offered opportunities is not enough. You have to be your own advocate and cheerleader.
Qu. 2: Tuesday 5th March, “What’s your biggest hack to achieve balance at work?”
Felicity’s answer: My biggest hack for achieving gender balance is realistic but accountable targets. What gets measured, gets done. Targets with accountability force decision-makers to confront biases in mindsets and practices that disadvantage women and to make the changes to workplaces that level the playing field and promote the attraction, retention, and development of women. Those changes might be, for example, looking outside traditional talent pools, driving workplace flexibility, parental leave policies that do not distinguish between primary and secondary caregiver or linking gender diversity to succession plans.
Qu. 3: Wednesday 5th March, How do your allies support you at work?
Felicity’s answer: Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have leaders that act as upstanders. Upstanders are individuals who call out bias and hold unacceptable behaviour to account. Women experience higher levels of harassment and discrimination at work that can chip away at confidence and aspiration, negatively impact well-being and performance, and hinder progression. Upstanders buffer those risks by promoting safe and supportive environments for women.
Qu. 4: Thursday, 7th March, What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to women entering the workforce?
Felicity’s answer: My one piece of advice to women entering the workforce is to find a role model. You cannot be what you can’t see. The power of role models is supported by research. Studies show that identifiable role models support the performance, confidence, and aspirations of women in professional settings.
Qu. 5: Friday, 8th March, What is one change you’d like to see in the workplace?
Felicity’s answer: I’d like to see a shift in focus from fixing women to fixing work settings. Studies show that men and women enter the workplace equally confident and ambitious, but after only two to five years, female professional confidence and ambition plummets, while male confidence and ambition remain largely the same. The workplace has a relatively greater depletive effect on female confidence and it’s up to organisations to identify the causes and implement solutions that are supportive of women.