Are we fighting right or are we not fighting hard enough?

Thursday 9 March 2017

Are we fighting right or are we not fighting hard enough?

There are a lot of discussions and campaigns seeking to increase the number of women in today’s boardrooms to 30% and the focus is mostly on women already in middle management positions, but what about women just starting out?gladys

Organisations should #BeBoldForChange – like the theme for this International Women’s Day - and also nurture the talent and leadership of young women. This would encourage women from an early age to see themselves as the leaders of tomorrow in the boardrooms, and organisations would have a higher pool of talent to choose from!

It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that it’s not just women on the top who should be celebrated. All women at all levels deserve recognition, which is why I was honoured to speak at the Young Women’s Trust Awards last month, which recognised young women who have overcome barriers to get their foot on the career ladder!

There are a number of other ways women already on boards, employers, and young women can help achieve and sustain the 30% target. Based on their experience, women on boards could guide young women to become future board members. They can offer young women in their organisations mentorship with the aim of making them future board members, not just senior executives. From early on, young women will be well - if not better - equipped to lead these organisations, because they will understand the business and where it is headed.

Last year, Young Women’s Trust welcomed two young women to their board of trustees - both former members of the Young Women’s Trust advisory panel. This was a great opportunity for them to put their knowledge and understanding of the charity to further use and gain more skills and experience for themselves through mentoring from existing trustees. 

Young women should be supported and advised to make use of opportunities available to them. You should also seek both formal and informal mentorship from your employers, and even be bold to ask for advice from those you look up to as role models! A great place to start is with Young Women’s Trust’s Work It Out coaching service. The coaching service helps boost confidence, offers career direction, and with practical steps, encourages you to ‘be bold for change’ for your generation and those to come.