International Women’s Day was created in 1911 by our courageous sisters, the Suffragettes. Though society has evolved in many ways since the beginning of the 20th century, the intent behind International Women’s Day—to close the gender gap—has not. Not that there hasn’t been some progress. For instance, we can now vote, own our own land and even purchase our own drinks at the pub – yay!
Not so yay
Despite these great strides, according to the Global Gender Gap Report, if we continue to move at the rate we’re currently going, parity will be achieved across the world in exactly 217 years. Nope, that is not a smudge on your screen. You read that number right. To put this into perspective, imagine you give birth to a baby today and they have a baby at 30, as does their offspring, and so on. We will achieve equality for women by the time your great great great great great grandchild is 27. And you are (hopefully) computerised consciousness uploaded into a sexy hologram.
Here are some things that scientists predict we will achieve 100 years before gender diversity is estimated to be realised:
– We’ll be able to grow synthetic organs
– We’ll be able to communicate telepathically
– We’ll be able to control the weather
– We’ll achieve singularity, where AI will be able to think for itself
– Nanorobots will be floating around our body fixing our cells and recording our memories
– Women will be taking on the lion’s share of domestic duties while they hold down a job for which they are paid less than men for equal output. Oh, hang on…
Clearly, this day is a necessary one. The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #pressforprogress. With activism fuelled by movements such as #metoo and #timesup momentum is thankfully growing. Progress is essential and press we must.
But what we’re doing currently is not disruptive enough and I think we’re missing a crucial link that will play a huge role in whether or not we can turn progress into a reality.
The missing link
According to studies undertaken by the authors of the Confidence Code, women are much more likely than men to be perfectionists. This means they are more likely to hold themselves back from applying for a job, asking for a promotion and even asking a question unless they feel they are 100% qualified to do so. Men, on the other hand, put themselves forward when they meet just 50% of the required criteria. It’s not difficult to see how this difference in mindset influences a person’s likelihood to succeed. You can’t win if you’re not even in the race to begin with.
In the same line of reasoning, many women desire progress but they’re waiting for the perfect plan. As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I’m here to tell you that it does not exist. You can wait for the perfect plan until you’re an eternally gorgeous 200-year-old hologram, but it’s never coming. Our only choice is to take a leap of faith; to act, despite there being no set path for us to follow.
In my experience, in the work that I am doing, it is the women who trust that their action will breed clarity that are the most successful. Sometimes we must move ahead blindly. Sometimes we must have faith in something bigger than what we can see before us.
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Last week I started full time for eight weeks in the first Australian Antler Cohort in Sydney. Antler is an incubator program that focuses on creating the next wave of tech companies. They had over 1000 applicants but accepted only 71 amazing humans of which I was fortunate enough to be one. Some may consider this a success but at the end of week one, I found myself questioning if this is success, why do I feel so uncomfortable?