Disclaimer: Please note that all commentary and opinions provided in this interview are those of the individual and not the organisation/company they are employed by.
What does “choose to challenge” mean to you?
I think it means many things and that is what is great about it. Choosing to Challenge can be intrinsic - it can be about your self-belief and finding your voice. It can be about challenging your own biases, and beliefs that can limit your own personal and professional development. Of course, it can and should very much be about challenging the limiting biases of others when you are able to see and share a more objective, productive or positive lens. If you are a female, (or male!) in a position of power and influence, you may already have challenged yourself and found your voice in order to be where you are. Now, you can challenge others around you whose behaviours and biases may limit the development of our future female leaders, and help enable others to reach their potential.
How can female leaders ensure they get a seat at the table?
I believe that we have way more supporters than we may realise and the biggest barrier to getting a seat at the table is self-belief. Once you believe you should be there, backing it up with the right capabilities and hard work will ensure you get that seat. Invest in yourself, and those at the table will too when they see the value that the investment brings. And if even if they don't, be amazing anyway and they won't be able to ignore you.
What impact could Kamala Harris’ appointment to Vice President have on the next generation of female leaders?
Well, Kamala is in good company, as there are currently 24 serving female heads of state and government and there are 28 serving deputy heads (including Kamala) – that is worth acknowledging and celebrating. In her capacity as first female V.P in the US, I hope she places a focus on working alongside her Democrat and Republican colleagues on improving US legislation that will support women in the workplace. As an example, the United States is currently one of 4 countries (I think!) that does not provide mandated paid maternity leave. This will no doubt benefit all Americans and not only females, and when families are better supported, that enables women to achieve higher professional goals.
Click here to read the full edition of IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Female Leaders Across The Globe.