Post written by Jane Hunt, former inaugural CEO at Fitted for Work.
I have just returned from the World Economic Forum New Champions event in China and heard a lively debate about ‘solving the gender issue’ in organizations. One of the panel members spoke about how ‘the confidence gap’ that women experience is holding us all back. For me, if you don’t have enough role models around you, and you don’t see women participating equally, then you will internalise the idea that you don’t quite belong, and of course you will question yourself and it will affect your confidence.
Even Emma Watson in her brave and moving speech questioned her right to talk out on the issue of equality for both sexes. Despite this, she showed compassion for the ‘prison’ of gender stereotyping that both women and men experience and she extended an invitation for men and women to work together to end gender inequality. I loved watching her speech. Especially moving to me was my daughter’s reaction. She said to me: ‘She’s brilliant – is she making sure we all get the same chances?’ (Of course, it was also closely followed by: ‘Can I watch her in Harry Potter now)?’
Emma Watson’s comment: ‘If not me, who?’ and ‘If not now, when?’ strongly resonated for me as I have made an important but tough decision to leave FFW – an organization that I have loved building and whose work is so important in our community.
I am taking up a new, important challenge. I will be joining Adopt Change as their CEO, and will work to improve the lives of vulnerable children in Australia and overseas, by working to affect change in the world of adoption.
As Emma Watson said: ‘I care about this problem and I want to make it better’.
When I told the staff that I was leaving, their reaction meant a lot to me – they were thrilled and congratulated me on taking up the role at Adopt Change. Their generosity moved me. It showed me that what we believe in – that every woman should go on to achieve her work aspirations – is alive and well at FFW!
So, if you are how you thinking about how you might contribute to gender equality or are considering your own career, ask yourself Emma Watson’s questions:
‘If not me, who?’
‘If not now, when?’