Women have come so far. In 2015, only 10% of Dax-company board members were women; now it’s doubled. The ECB has its first female leader. Taylor Swift, on Forbes’ 2023 America’s Richest Self-Made Women list, outsells Kanye West and Drake and ranks second on Spotify streams. To get to where we are now, we had to fight. Often the rhetoric sounded angry, loud, shrill.
The problem: Over war cries it’s hard to listen. But we need decision makers, often still men, to listen because the Gender Pay Gap persists, as per the latest WEF Global Gender Gap Report: In 102 countries tracked since 2006, it will take 131 years to achieve full parity.
So, while celebrating our achievements, we need a strategy in order to reach full parity. The path forward differs from our past approach. While boldness and vocal advocacy were crucial for challenging and reforming the system, at some point we have to make it work again. We cannot just overthrow a system without creating a new one. We cannot merely dismantle the old system without constructing a new one. Otherwise, we risk turning potential allies into adversaries, rendering true equality elusive for companies, economies, and women. In order to create systemic and sustainable change, the fiery speeches need to become a dialogue again. We do not need to shout it from the rooftops anymore. Every man knows what we are capable of. We have shown that, supported by statistics. Shown, that a diverse board makes for better results, products, creativity. The job of the super women is done.
After the fierce warrior, we now require a diplomat for full parity. No need to battle the male system; let’s celebrate women and embrace our innate qualities. Our aim is to collaborate with men, not to overthrow them. We need women to be brave enough to let the feminine shine through. Otherwise we lose sight of who we are. Lose the potential of diversity. Let’s not create a new boys club for girls or try to be as masculine as possible. We will do it differently. Like Spanx Founder and CEO Sara Blakely said: “Maybe that’s not a weakness, maybe the feminine is actually a strength that needs to be harnessed, and needs to have a voice at the table.”
Join us at this year’s Women’s Summit to listen to these female voices, who did not let the fight make them fear the feminine in order to try to appear like a superwoman but who saw what men alone couldn’t do – and identified their strengths and brought them to the table for a different approach and real diversity of thought.