On March 8, 2021, we celebrated International Women’s Day here at Leadpages. It was chance to celebrate and cheer on the women who courageously broke down barriers and built something better than before. But it’s also a time to acknowledge that, yes—we still have a long long way to go before we can put issues like gender discrimination, pay parity, and sexual harassment in the workplace behind us.
International Women's Day 2021: Choose to Challenge #ChoosetoChallenge #IWD2021
A challenged world is an alert world—and from challenge comes change. Follow the conversation on Twitter, on Instagram and make a pledge for how you’ll help forge a gender-equal world!
As a community of small business owners and entrepreneurs, and as a company, we are both optimistic and energized for the impact that women will make in the years ahead.
But being optimistic is not enough. We’re committed to the equity and advancement. That’s why 65% of our leadership team is women (including our CEO), as well as 35% of the whole company—beating out GAFAM benchmarks in 2020 by more than 20%.
Last year, we also committed to providing one year of paid maternity leave at 70% pay in both the US and Canada. And we’re 100% committed to pay parity across comparable roles.
International Women’s Day is also about understanding and empathizing with the challenges women face. And that requires perspective. So we tapped into the wisdom of a few women customers and employees with some big questions about leadership, challenges, and what the future holds for women.
What advice would you give to women who want to be leaders? How can we mentor young girls to dream bigger?
“Allow your desire for impact to be greater than any fear you may be experiencing about stepping into your role as a leader. The most significant way any woman can inspire the young girls around her to dream bigger, is for that woman to go out there and lead by example. Girls taking the lead will always be prefaced by real women going out there and making their own dreams a reality. These girls need to witness our growth journey so that they can see a reflection of themselves within us. That’s how we hold space for them to shine their big, bold, beautiful light in their own unique way.”
“Make the roles and growth you want known to those above you. Not every role or opportunity will be readily available or handed to you. So it is important to set goals to help you get there. A great way to help set these goals would be to shadow other people in the role you want and learn the path they took to get there. Also do not be afraid to ask for help or guidance!”
"True leaders look inward for all the answers. Remember, you have everything you need to succeed and design a life you love by harnessing your own unique gifts. We can mentor young girls to dream bigger by showing them what's possible in every single industry. Share knowledge, uplift other women, be kind, assertive, confident and sassy. Demand your worth. Enforce your own boundaries. Respect yourself and others. Speak up, speak out and use your voice. Now more than ever, I couldn't be prouder to be a woman."
Women often face unique challenges as a result of our gender. What's one mantra that keeps you forging ahead?
“Be the leader for others that you want for yourself. Being a leader to me doesn't mean always being perfect or getting it right all the time. It means leading by example, owning your mistakes and showing you are willing to grow yourself as much as you push others. As well as being open and available to your team. Showing them their success/growth means as much to you as it does to them. At Leadpages we are lucky to have some really great women leaders to look up to and learn from. So I have some great examples to emulate!”
"I don't focus on the gender—I focus on the results. Yes, we might face more unique challenges, but that makes us stronger and more resilient. At the end of the day, if we achieve the goal faster, better, or bigger, we are the winners."
“You are here to help people. Your life is not to sit back and watch the world go back. Your job is to inspire others, to use your gifts and to help people change their lives for the better, no matter what the perceived barriers and workplace challenges seem to be.”
“My mom. She started her own business from nada and grew it solely on becoming excellent at what she does and building relationships - one small, impactful step at a time. All without a single penny spent on marketing (which is a bit ironic...given my profession). She taught me that we each get one wild and precious life — what we do with it is entirely up to us.”
“Elizabeth Garret Anderson. She became the first female surgeon in the UK, the first female medical doctor in France, the first woman to be a dean of a British medical school, the first British female mayor, and a co-founder of a hospital staffed by women. She went for it all, and she succeeded."
"Kamala Harris is an easy answer right now. She has had to shatter a number of ceilings as a woman and POC on her way to her current VP role. She is equally qualified and wasn't afraid to think and act on "why not me?" along the way. I find it encouraging every time I see a woman with confidence and drive who won't just "sit down and be quiet" like too many women are expected to do."
How can men get more involved in issues of gender equity?
“Men need to get more comfortable with having women at the table. Male leaders need to provide equitable opportunities for women to succeed at the highest levels and make accommodations for women’s needs for flexible work schedules, maternity leave, and caregiving responsibilities.
In 2018, Prudential for its “Financial Wellness Census” indicated that 54 percent of women are the primary breadwinners in their family. Yet, on an average day, 83 percent of women and 65 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management
Women are working twices as hard for 25% less compensation. There needs to be pay equity in the workforce. We need to move beyond this cultural bias that women are “worth less” than men.”
"I can't tell you how many times I've been in a meeting, on a phone call or in a classroom and getting even one word in without being interrupted seems impossible. Listen to us, learn from us and let us finish our sentences. We have a lot to say and our contributions to the world can and will create waves of monumental change as they already are."
“They need to understand what it means to be an ally to women. They also need to step up when they notice a female co-worker hasn't been treated with respect. And lastly, become mentors and encourage women to keep growing in their careers. “
How have you balanced being a mother and a professional?
"Balancing motherhood and a business during a pandemic has been one of the toughest things I've had to do. That being said, when you love what you do and want the best for your children, you do what you need to do. In my case, my husband and I have a true partnership. We are both entrepreneurs with a four-year-old daughter doing remote learning, so that means that we split our workdays in half. Having really supportive in-laws is a huge blessing as well. Am I great at being a mom and a business owner all the time? Absolutely not. But I do the best I can to be intentional with every role I have."
“I started my business when I had three kids aged 5 and under. It took structure and intentional scheduling, mixed with huge amounts of grace and flexibility. Once I found a tribe of other moms running businesses from home, as well as hired some help, things got a little more manageable. Now my kids are teens. I keep strict boundaries with my business, and set the hours that I work so that I am free to see as many soccer games and awards nights as I can squeeze in before they are off on their own. The time went fast, but I will be forever grateful that we were together during those years, and they got to see Mom create her own living on her own terms.”
“With a lot of trial and error! When I realized you will never be balanced (noun) but instead always be balancing (verb). I learned how to realize when I was leaning too far one way and with self compassion bring myself back to the centerpoint more and more often. “
"It's been really difficult. I am, and always have been, a workaholic because I love what I do—yes, even more than spending time with my toddler! What I have learned is the importance of building an awesome team that I can lean on by entrusting them implicitly. If I didn't have the right people by my side, I wouldn't be able to balance it."
What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of female leaders?
“It is my most sincere hope that the next generation of female leaders will face the exact same challenges that the next generation of male leaders face. How to have a positive impact on the people you lead ... how to serve them to fulfill their purpose while engaged with yours.”
“Really continuing to demand that the work place be a more diverse and equal place. Asking the hard questions about why there isn't more diversity, what can be done about it, and how to get involved. It isn't a choice anymore. It's imperative.”
"One of the biggest challenges is to be heard and stand out. The next generation of female leaders need to be confident in their abilities, develop their voices to lead and make an impact. They need to be confident in their abilities and play to their strengths. Trust your voice!"
It’s no secret that women face different, if not greater, challenges than their male counterparts across all parts of life. So if entrepreneurship is to be respected and celebrated, then female entrepreneurship should be doubly so.
We’re proud that women make up a significant percentage of Leadpages leadership and global community. It shows us that more than ever, women are out there blazing their own trails, building the businesses that they want to run—and doing so successfully. We hope to continue supporting them in turning their dreams into a reality.
We also want to thank all of the amazing women entrepreneurs that provided their thoughts and insights for this post. We hope that your words can help inspire even more women.
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