SHIVANI GUPTA: Get smart and invest in women

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). My message today is that women in business makes sense for women and for business.

Last month, Australian tech whiz Jo Burston was one of four speakers to deliver a, world first, TedX talk in the sky aboard a Qantas flight from Sydney to San Francisco. Jo is a serial entrepreneur behind brands such as Job Capital, signezy.com, claimyourtax.com, big-data.net.au,  cleaningmaideasy.com.au  and  thecandidatebank.com.au.

Did you automatically assume Jo was a man? 

She’s also the founder and CEO of the movement Inspiring Rare Birds. Jo got the idea after visiting her old school in Sydney to find out that many of the girls either didn’t know what an entrepreneur was, or if they did, they thought that it was a man.

An annual book, Rare Birds, profiles emerging female entrepreneurs. Jo has said the book is a call to ensure that every woman is given the opportunity to be an entrepreneur by choice. The mantra is  ‘If she can, I can’. She has said that she hopes that in a few years from now, when you ask a young girl what she wants to be when she grows up, it’s not so surprising when she says she wants to own her own business or even change the world. 

We need more female entrepreneurs like Jo Burtson. We also need to invest in women in business.

Research shows that when women comprise 50 per cent of a board, the performance of that board is better than male-dominated boards. With women comprising 60 per cent of postgraduate students in Australia, there’ll be more women in business in the future. Australian business has a large, educated talent pool that it is not properly tapping into to extract its full potential.

I never advocate for people or organisations to be anti-men. A pro-women organisation invests in job sharing, flexible working hours and parental leave because this will benefit both men and women. What possible reason could there be for not making an organisation a place where a significant proportion of your staff can thrive?

Progress is being made but there’s more to do. Happy International Womens Day to the men and women committed to parity for better business success.

Shivani Gupta is the founder of Passionate People Institute and an author, speaker and leadership mentor.  askshivani.com Twitter: @shivanigupta1. 

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