As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Chemonics’ President and CEO Susanna Mudge reflects on our work to “balance for better” and challenges all of us to work towards inclusion beyond gender balance.
Happy International Women’s Day! This is an important day to reflect on and celebrate the critical contributions that women make to our society, our workplaces, and lives. There is so much to be proud of and still much to do to ensure women have equitable access and recognition for their amazing contributions. I am excited about this year’s theme: “Balance for Better.” It’s a call to each of us to support gender balance in our workplaces and foster more equitable societies. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are critical for economic growth, improving health and education outcomes for children and future generations, and improving the quality of policies and institutions.
For those of us in leadership positions, our presence can also spur balance. Being empowered to share our perspectives and experiences, we can bring balance to a conversation and ensure multiple voices are being heard. It can also inspire others. I recall this vividly when I was serving as chief of party on a project in Peru. I remember feeling that, as a woman leader, I was prompting my male and female colleagues to envision other women in leadership roles, thereby breaking norms. In October last year, we hosted a panel session for staff that featured three of our female executives who presented very different experiences on their paths to leadership. This March, to celebrate Women’s History Month, we will host a “speed mentoring” session to connect employees with leaders. These events serve as opportunities for everyone to find inspiration and learn from colleagues who have successfully risen within their organizations, particularly for our women colleagues.