Today is International Women’s Day – a day to promote a more gender inclusive world. As the Chair of JLL’s Hong Kong Diversity & Inclusion Committee, that’s a cause I’m fully behind!
This year’s IWD mantra is “Be Bold for Change” – so I’m here to pledge that I will “be bold and celebrate women’s achievements.”
And what better way to do that than to celebrate three women (of many) who inspire me?
1. Maya Angelou
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible” – wise words from the late, great poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Despite some horrific childhood experiences, her accomplishments are almost too many to mention – she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry and was credited with a list of plays, movies and TV shows. To me, she is an exceptional example of achieving against the odds, and the value of determination in reaching your goals.
2. Michelle Obama
I’m not talking just about her amazing dress sense or even her two Ivy League degrees – as impressive as they are! The former First Lady of the United States lead a number of successful healthy living campaigns to improve America’s food choices and encourage physical activity; she worked hand-in-hand with the public and private sector to ensure that service members, veterans and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives; and she launched the Let Girls Learn initiative to help girls go to school and stay in school, regardless of where they live in the world. I could go on! I also encourage everyone to watch her final White House speech – it’s a tear-jerker!
3. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” is recommended reading for any women out there looking to balance work and family life. I can relate! In the book, the Facebook COO describes how difficult it is to manage both career and motherhood, as well as the barriers that women still face in the workplace, including the pay gap. She considers herself a feminist and calls for the fight for women’s rights to continue. “We stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us, women who had to fight for the rights that we now take for granted,” she says. Hear, hear!
Who inspires you? Let me know in the comments below.
I wish everyone a fulfilling International Women’s Day 2017.