International Women’s Day: Pressing for Progress Means More Voices and More Action

March 8, 2018


I spent most of my working hours in the early years of my career trying to figure out how best to get girls on the global development and social change agenda. This was in the early days of the Girl Effect and Lean In — movements I feel fortunate to have played a role in supporting. Now it seems I cannot get through a day without someone dropping “lean in” into conversation. After many years of hard work, there’s arguably more talk about girls and women than ever before. Yet dishearteningly, recent research from the World Economic Forum shows it’s getting even harder to be a woman — and that the global gender gap will take 100 years to close at the current rate of progress.

You and I won’t be alive then. We all have to do better.

I take two meanings from this year’s International Women’s Day theme “Press for Progress.” Wearing my agency hat as a communicator, “press” references the media, and the need to be bolder and more robust in engaging voices for change.

But we can’t just say more. We must do more. This means “pressing for progress” through smarter and bigger actions. This duality—the need for more effective action and communication—is what our corporate responsibility & global impact center of excellence at FleishmanHillard uses as our north star.

As I wrapped up 2017 visiting global education projects on four continents, I met incredible social entrepreneurs who are working to expand opportunity for all. As Ana Roca Castro, the CEO of GeniusPlaza told me, “The one thing that any parent shares with any other parent in the world, poor or rich, is the hope that their kids do better than themselves.” We have a lot of work to do if we are going to make a dent in closing the gender gap so our kids can really grow into a world that looks significantly different from the one in which we do today.