You’ll read and hear many stories about International Women’s Day – what the day means, why it’s important…and there are many good stories to inspire all of us to focus on achieving gender equality in our personal and professional lives.
But there is one story that is probably the most important and the most impactful: Your story.
Officially, International Women’s Day is for “celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.” Each year the United Nations sets a theme for the day, and this year’s theme is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.”
It’s a particularly fitting theme for Nuance Healthcare because it resonates so well with our focus on developing technical innovations and customer partnerships that address the massive ongoing changes in healthcare and in technology. Those are not arms-length, macro-level changes that affect us indirectly. Instead, they represent difficult technical challenges and marketing hurdles that help us improve healthcare outcomes for ourselves, our loved ones, and every woman, man, girl and boy. We work to make everything we do each day count. It’s deeply personal. It matters.
That’s the point of International Women’s Day. What you do in large and small ways every day at work and at home matters. That may be in the form of supporting a company or department policy that recognizes the positive business impacts of gender parity. It may be making changes – think of them as innovations – in home routines to understand and share workloads and responsibilities. It may be in the form of a kind gesture or recognition of someone’s contributions toward improvement. Or it may be in asking yourself how you can make a difference by influencing my children in the most positive ways.
As the #BalanceForBetter 2019 campaign theme states, “A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world?”
Here’s my story: I’m a mechanical engineer by training. In fact, I’m one of six engineers in my family including my father. Growing up there was never any question of “why?” or “why not?” a woman would become an engineer. It was more like, “of course!” To me it was part of life, a matter of fact, thanks to being immersed in a family environment where your strengths and contributions were noted and encouraged. I was and am very much aware of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that attitudes about gender affect all of us. Those attitudes are barriers to accomplishments for men and women alike. That’s especially true in a business when you need – and need to recognize – the best contributions from every team member.
So, on this International Women’s Day, remember that your story – no matter what – is important. Your story can make a difference – and balance us all for better.