The theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Balance for Better’ with events happening around the world to encourage thought, action and debate on how we can create a more gender balanced world. 

Creating a more gender balanced world requires a multi-faceted approach and a mindset shift for both males and females.

There is a LOT of work to be done.

According to the World Economic Forum the global pay gap between men and women will take 202 years to close, because it is so vast and the pace of change is so slow.

202 years is approximately five generations. It will be our great, great, great, great grandaughters that reap the rewards. Maybe. If the pace of change continues at the current rate and doesn’t slow down.

One area of this work that particularly interests me is helping women to believe that they DESERVE to live in a gender balanced world.

That they have the skills, talents, attributes and the confidence to go out there and OWN THEIR SPACE in the world.

Women undersell themselves ALL the time.

A Hewlett Packard report into their own recruitment systems found women would apply only for jobs they felt they were 100% qualified to do, whereas men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet only 60% of the job requirements.

I read this research a few years ago and it made perfect sense to me. I would class myself as a confident woman but I know that in a professional capacity I am guilty of not putting myself into situations unless I absolutely know that I can deliver.

In a non-professional capacity and particularly as a mother I find myself in situations where I have no idea how I am going to deliver ALL THE TIME. I think ‘winging it’ pretty much sums it up.

Earlier this week, in a last minute flash of IWD inspiration I asked my community what made them awesome? I invited them to share and celebrate all of their amazing attributes and qualities.

I am hugely grateful to those that contributed but that gratitude is tinged with sadness.

In total nineteen women contributed. 

In the background, I received 21 direct messages or social media comments saying that they had attempted to contribute but found it hard to put into writing why they were awesome.

I know some of the women that contributed personally. I can 100% vouch for how awesome they are. 

I have no doubt that the rest of the contributors are awesome as well.

And I also have no doubt that the 21 women who contacted me to say that they found it too hard to take part are also awesome.

We are all awesome in our own way. We have different flavours of awesome and that helps us to be part of life’s rich tapestry.

Here is a little flavour of the awesomeness of the women around me doing their best to have their own version of a good life well lived. Again, a big thank you to all who contributed.

I’ll do whatever is possible to be there for my friends, family or strangers in need. If i can make a difference then I will. Susy

I learnt how to do Vlookups in excel! I can master it! Also quite proud of my child bearing hips. Always thought they were too big but realised their worth in childbirth. Amy

I managed to do some jobs at home today so i have time to exercise tomorrow evening. Plus i used a new assessment tool today for the first time and it went well. Anon

I have brought up two awesome kids and I’m still standing! Vanessa

I get me (full face of make up and usually some amazing ankle boots) and the lads out of the house by 07:25 5 days a week! Emma

I manage to get 2 kids to school on time, work a full day at the office, run 6km home, contend with a million requests for food, time and bum wiping yet am able to keep my shit together enough to make it through each day! Jo

I gave birth to 2 children . Anon

I love people and think we can do better. I love how people can be inspiring and making so much out of so little. I love story tellers and telling stories. I don’t like BS. I am humbly imperfect and genuinely caring. I try and always want to share. I love learning and becoming better. I am concerned I didn’t know better before although it is little use. I am generally happy, although not always but I always prefer to be. I understand how lucky I am and try to not take it for granted. I’m a driven giggler, shyly and lovingly an eternal smart child. Anon

I run my own business and employ 4 people, sometimes I look around and think how did I get to be so responsible? Sarah

I work part-time, have three kids and look after my Dad who has Alzheimer’s. It’s not always easy but it’s life. Beth

I’ve created a charity that delivers significant social value, gives me a space to learn and be creative AND also means I can be there for school drop off, pick up and school holidays. Oh, and I’ve been able to employ seven awesome women to do the same thing. Nicola

I spin all the plates and mainly don’t drop any! I’m a great mum, wife, friend and employee. Sarah

I can make a small amount of money go a very long way. We don’t have much but we do have goes far. Anon

I will step over the mess on the floor, put on the unironed clothes and close my eyes to the dirty dishes; to find time to make costumes, themed breakfasts, create smiles and make memories with 3 awesome little mini me’s . Jo

I’m a happy person! Louise

I’m a full time working mummy in a Fortune 500 company. I like to crack jokes to make people at ease I’m always free to listen to people who want to rant to need help with something I swear a lot!! Anon

I often leave home before my family wake up and get back after they are asleep. But I am a good role model. And on my non-working day and day off I am fully there with them. Juggling is hard. But I make it work and I think that makes me awesome. Sarah

I prioritise my health over everything else. Sometimes people think I’m weird but I have my reasons and I stand by them. I feel strong when I stick to my guns. Becky

At the age of 40 I finally took up running. Suzanne

The question that I have been pondering this week is, can you imagine what the world would look like if every single woman believed in themselves, showed up in all of their greatness and owned their awesomeness?

What an incredible world that would be!