Looking back at the last week, we certainly haven’t been short of things to talk about. International Women’s Day was the catalyst for a host of interactions and initiatives recognising the amazing achievements of women across the globe. From trailblazing in business, breakthroughs in science, unbelievable creativity, caring for and supporting others, I was inspired and proud to be part of the conversation.
My key observation from the week may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked. At the heart of every single story, positive and negative, is a person with a busy, complicated, often difficult life who faces new and unexpected challenges every day, and still manages to achieve amazing things. I feel incredibly proud and lucky that working with such incredible people has been the single most important influence on my career.
In my early fintech years, when I was often the only woman in the boardroom, I didn’t see the need for quotas and believed that meritocracy would find its way. Over the years, I’ve come to realise how important it is for any business to reflect the diversity of its communities and customers. This is about much more than gender, of course, but seeking balanced representation on your leadership team is an important way to generate and embrace diversity of thought – a key attribute of any successful business.
I have spent my career advocating for women in an industry dominated by men and I’m now grateful to hold a position where I can personally drive change. Research shows that companies with at least one woman on the board perform 26% better than those with male-only boards, one of many reasons why I’m proud that two thirds of Cashflow’s senior leadership team are female.
We have such responsibility. We’re creating role models and mentors who we know will inspire future generations, and as a mother of three daughters I know first-hand how important that is. If we want our girls to believe that they can achieve anything, they need to see women as leaders and entrepreneurs who can show them the way. With female entrepreneurs delivering 20% greater revenue than their male equivalent, despite attracting lower funding, it’s clear that women have an important role to play in shaping our future economy and we should recognise that, supporting them at every opportunity.
My advice to women who feel disadvantaged in achieving their goals is the same for any industry, any part of life. Don’t be intimidated by those who don’t understand you because you don’t operate as they do. Be your authentic self and find your own voice. You have so much to offer, and the world needs you.