As we celebrate International Women’s Day this week, we must recognize the impact that women have had on the world of business, innovation, and leadership. Women are making incredible strides in leadership positions globally, from pulpits to cockpits, from politics to business; women are taking on roles of power and influence like never before. Women have been breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings in every industry daily. But we still have a long way to go in terms of achieving gender equality, closing the wealth gap, and normalizing women in leadership..
As an executive coach and career coach, who works with women and BIPOC professionals, from interns to CEOs, I have seen firsthand the challenges women face in their careers. Often women struggle to gain the recognition and opportunities they deserve simply because of their gender. This is why it is crucial to encourage and empower women to take on leadership roles and impact the spaces they occupy. We must hold the door open for women and provide both access and support to women in leadership.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.“Shirley Chisolm, Former U.S. Congresswoman (D-NY)
It is imperative that women who desire a seat at the table take charge of their own career development and actively direct their advancement in the ways they choose. Often employees leave their growth in the hands of their managers or organizations. As a coach, I encourage my clients to always actively pilot their own careers. Disengage autopilot, set goals for yourself every quarter, identify your strengths and areas of opportunity, and upskill and improve your skill proficiencies. Proactively ask for new challenges, seek out mentors, sponsors, and advocates, and actively network with other professionals in their organization and industry.
Another significant arena where we see a direct correlation between successful organizational outcomes and women’s leadership is in decision-making. Women bring unique experiences and insights to the table, and their voices need to be heard to create more inclusive and equitable products, solutions, and workplaces. This is why it is essential for ALL organizations to actively seek out and support women in leadership positions. Organizations must create development, succession, and retention plans that increase engagement and decrease attrition among women.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us continue to recognize and support the contributions of women in business and leadership. By creating supportive and encouraging communities around women, there can be increases in representation and the creation of opportunities for women to take on leadership roles. As we hold the door open for women leaders, we will create more diverse and inclusive workplaces where everyone can show up authentically and holistically. If you are a woman looking to take the next step in your career, remember that you already have the skills and abilities to be a leader in your field. Your experiences and expertise have earned you your seat at the table, and the world is simply waiting for you to claim what is already yours.
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