Today we celebrate International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness about discrimination and to take action to drive gender parity. Hear from the REAL. Leadership community on what this day means to them. #InspireInclusion.

On IWD 2024 I’m proud to work with some incredible female leaders across the world. And I was inspired by reading what this day means to some of them in the blog below.

Sadly in the UK we still seem to lack a clear plan for ensuring all women can achieve their career goals. This lack of clarity was clearly demonstrated recently by Nicola Grant “Champion of Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders” who commented that whilst the FTSE350 Women Leaders review showed positive change the PWC Women In Work index showed that the UK had fallen 4 places and was now ranked 17th out of 33, the largest annual fall on our Index of any OECD country.

We all know the best way is to move from lots of talking to impactful action is to include everyone in the equation.

I’m looking forward to working with some amazing female leaders today, as I do every day.

Nina Croad, Chief Professionalisation Officer (C3PO) at NEO: Communications

It’s a hard reminder that we aren’t there yet and at the same time of how much progress has been made thanks to the brave. All things being equal, though, which is the point, I look forward to the time when such days aren’t needed to #inspireinclusion.

Darina Štyriaková, CEO, ekolive

IWD is an opportunity to make visible that women can also be powerful to bring important innovations to the world.

My unwavering belief that “Girls are Strong” (our local university campaign slogan 18 years ago) guided me to a mission-driven and gender-equality-conscious business accelerator focused on food, beverage, and agtech – FoodFutureCo. In a world where gender disparities loomed large, only 13% of startup founders in 2023 were women, and female-only founded startups received a mere 2% of VC capital. The venture capital and mentorship imbalances reflected broader challenges in the entrepreneurial landscape.

Eighteen years ago, during my first year of college, International Women’s Day became a turning point. My university’s policy, deeming it “immoral” for pregnant women and women with children to enroll in classes, ignited a fervent call for change. Alongside a determined movement, we used International Women’s Day to challenge biases and champion the fundamental right of women to pursue education without discrimination in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

This early activism laid the foundation for my ongoing commitment to women’s rights. The battles faced by local women, especially in the developing world (also called the Global South), interweaved with my journey, inspiring a dedication to amplifying their voices and supporting their struggles.

Marking each International Women’s Day, I reflect on progress made in the fight for equality while identifying areas needing improvement. It serves as an annual reminder of our global commitment to women’s rights, celebrating the resilience, strength and international solidarity of women worldwide. Through this celebration, we actively contribute to the ongoing movement for gender equality, empowering us to make every day an opportunity for beautiful changes. My belief that “girls are strong” has become a guiding force, shaping not only my journey but the narratives of countless others who dare to dream, believe, and celebrate the strength and resilience of women everywhere.

Catherine Marchant, CEO, Impact Family Services

International Women’s Day is important to me as it provides a focal point to collaboratively remind people of, and shine a light on, the incredible part women play in business and society across the globe.

It is a reminder of how women are now forging a path in the journey towards an equitable world of business leaders and influencers, that so many young women and girls around the world can aspire to. I am proud to play my very small part in that journey.

Nicola Pye, The Leadership Coach & People Person

The past, present and future of International Women’s Day are hugely important to me. Thinking of and being thankful for the women (and men) in my life who’ve helped me to find my voice, also of the women I may not know personally but who have taken huge risks so that me having a strong voice is even an option. Yet, there is still more to be done, and I’ll be taking stock and having compassion for those women whose voices are oppressed, whether near or far from me. Above all, I’ll be hoping that my daughter and her generation can use their voices more powerfully than ever before.

Staci Frost, Director of Organisational Effectiveness, The Aga Khan Foundation

International Women’s Day is important to me as it is an opportunity to celebrate women across the world and their accomplishments. It is a chance to elevate women and raise their voices. It is also an important platform for holding difficult conversations and addressing issues related to gender equality and discrimination. Such conversations are crucial for raising awareness and mobilising support, helping to move the needle in empowering future generations to keep breaking barriers. I particularly like the fact that it is celebrated in different ways across the world, whether through a community coming together to clean up the town or a panel of women speaking about issues affecting them. For me, it has been a time to bring colleagues together to reaffirm our commitment to gender equality, demonstrate progress we have made in this regard, and highlight the work that remains to be done.

Victoria Salomon, founder of theThe Ixchel Systemand owner of Ixchel Therapies

As a mother and businesswoman, it is a day to recognise that innovative women worldwide are inspiring, creating and leading the way for future generations living our best lives and celebrating others doing the same!

Celebrate International Women’s Day with us and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women.



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