This is what progress looks like

SmartCompany, March 8, 2018

Two years ago, I wrote an article while sitting in a hotel lobby in Canberra. It was March 8, 2016 — International Women’s Day.

As the global lens was again being focused for a day on progress toward gender equality, I found myself lamenting the fact that “the boss” was still a position presumed to be filled by men, not women. I was frustrated that women earned on average more than 17% less than their male counterparts; that only 19% of all startup founders in Australia were women; and that there was so little visibility of female leaders in STEM and business for the next generation to look up to.

Reading back on the article now, amid the flood of coverage for International Women’s Day 2018, I am acutely aware of how much has changed, but also how much has stayed the same.

It’s a reminder that changing the ratio is about staying the course and continuing to push for progress, year after year after year.

So let’s start with the good news …

Everyday, I look around me and see an increasing number of women in leadership positions.

Yesterday, I sat on a panel at Twitter HQ alongside two brilliant tech startup chief executives and the managing director of Twitter Australia — all women, all leaders changing the world. The room was filled with female leaders from across corporate Australia, as well as dozens of female startup founders — a growing group that has risen to 25% of all founders in Australia over the past two years.

This is what progress looks like.

Earlier this week, I heard from another inspiring female leader, Stephanie Buscemi, the executive vice president of product and solutions marketing at Salesforce, who spoke about how Salesforce has invested $US6 million to deliver and yes, achieve, equal pay across their workforce. A huge step toward removing the gender pay gap in one of the biggest tech companies in the world.

Progress, as a result of serious action.

And here on the pages of SmartCompany and StartupSmart today, I see the faces of hundreds of women in business, women in leadership, women supporting women right across our economy, and I know that there is a growing community of female leaders for the next generation to look up to.

Things are changing. But we’re not there yet.