The time for true gender parity in the leadership of our businesses, institutions, political parties and boards is now. I want all young women to be empowered to drive the change we need to see.
Feminism is a central part of my beliefs and identity because I believe in equality. Women are so powerful on an individual, collective and global level, and we're a force to be reckoned with in the business world.
For too long our organisations and institutions have been led by the same narrow demographic group, known as the ‘pale, male and stale’. This doesn't represent our society which is made up of a diverse mix of genders, races, ages and cultural backgrounds.
It's a well-documented fact that the number of women leading top New Zealand businesses, whether at executive or board level, is embarrassingly low and the statistics have been slow to change. I personally find it hard to believe that the best and brightest candidates for top jobs in this country all happen to be middle aged white men – but this is a message currently being publicly advertised by many companies. Observing this phenomenon is a great deterrent for women to apply for leadership roles, because they can’t see themselves at the table when most of the seats are already taken by the old boys network.
That's why I am doing all I can to become a visible champion for young women on boards, and demand those seats at the top table. I'm doing this by building my skills while supporting organisations that help our most vulnerable people in the social enterprise and community sector. I hope that I can inspire other women to be audacious, realise their potential and smash goals in whatever form that takes.
Working for Girl Guiding, New Zealand's oldest girls' organisation, is a feminist dream come true. We're empowering the next generation of strong female leaders through outdoor education, community service and national and international advocacy.