Better the balance, better the world

‘Better the Balance, Better the World’. This is the message which will ring across the globe for International Women’s Day on Friday March 8. And, it’s a worthy one.

Over the past 100 years, the path to women’s equality has been long and challenging. And it has relied on many determined people to progress the ‘gender agenda’ along the way. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the focus was on activism and securing the right to vote and equal pay for equal work. Fast-forward to the 1970’s and widespread feminist action saw women rallying, protesting and lobbying hard for inclusion, influence and equality. The 1980’s saw an array of ‘Fix the Women’ programs that were well-meaning in trying to help women become more confident, visible, connected and assertive – but many reinforced a notion that women needed to ‘act like men’ and ‘fit’ into existing patriarchal structures and organisations if they were to succeed.

Today, the focus is on changing the culture of organisations and finding the right balance. As the leader of a large organisation, I know the importance of culture and balance. Women’s equality in our contemporary world is no longer a ‘women’s issue’ but rather a business issue with enormous impacts for our communities.

The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage … and the welcome list goes on. Gender balance and fair representation is essential if we want our economy, and society, to thrive. Everyone has a responsibility to support a gender-balanced world. And the good news? Everyone benefits from gender-balance too.

From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects, and wants, balance. We notice its absence and benefit from its presence. Let’s build a balanced world. Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere. Happy International Women’s Day on March 8.

By Penny Hamilton, CEO YellowBridge QLD

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