How Women Will Drive Change in 2018

In late January 2017, an unexpected turnout by women, men and children from all walks of life from around the globe exceeded projections to the tune of 2.6 million. They showed up to take the world by storm by attending an event that was started on social media and sparked a movement for women – The Women’s March 2017.

Although it had been years in the making, you can’t keep a sleeping giant silent for long. The floodgates have been opened and the movement to bring about change has erupted around the globe. Who is this sleeping giant — the global female population. Women can actually be described as the second largest economy in the world based on earned income vs. GDP.

It may have been subtle, but women have been making great strides to bring about change in many ways. The greatest impact women can make, which is well documented, is to propel global economic recovery by diversifying our workforce.

Trends continue to demonstrate the value women leaders provide to the bottom line. Many organizations recognize the need to pivot and are making changes in their leadership programs to promote inclusions and diversity and are including improving career opportunities for women.

It was recently stated in an article that, globally, only 50 percent of women participate in the formal economy. It’s time for that to change. Women have made significant strides in 2017 to use their voices to bring about organizational change as we head into 2018, but many pain points still exist. There is still much work to do to impact organizational change for women and girls in the next decade.

“When a population influences 85 percent of consumer spending, yet only receives 2 percent of venture funding, there is a fundamental disconnect at the leadership level in the business and investment community,” says Danielle Kayembe, futurist and serial entrepreneur.

Let’s look at new reports on women, business cases for inclusion and diversity, and program changes organizations should make in 2018. These changes can provide better career opportunities, social media initiatives and review secrets for women to thrive in their careers.

how women will influence business in the coming year


Reports on Women


This new report by Citigroup, Women in the Economy: How Women’s Empowerment can Shape the Global Economy, shares the story of women as a powerful driver of economic growth.

Key Findings

  • Research must have impact to shift public policy.
  • Countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) could see as much as a 20% leap in GDP if female involvement in the economy was raised to that of men.
  • Top reasons why gender gaps still exist
  • Underdeveloped negotiating skills
  • The motherhood penalty
  • Low/declining female union enrollment
  • Work-life balance requirements
  • Poor representation
  • Conscious and unconscious bias

McKinsey & Company

Delivering Through Diversity, McKinsey & Company’s latest full report reinforces the link between diversity and company financial performance—and suggests how organizations can craft better inclusion strategies for competitive advantage.

Awareness of the business case by organizations for inclusion and diversity is on the rise. Yet progress on change initiatives has been slow. And companies are still uncertain about how to effectively use diversity and inclusion to support growth and value-creation goals for their organization.

This study reaffirms the global relevance of the link between diversity and company financial outperformance.

Organizational Program Models

Why are we talking about improving organizational programs for women? Organizations across the globe are looking for answers to create economic growth, improve innovation and performance and stay ahead of their competitors in the marketplace.

Data says that women are the hidden secret for creating economic growth, and many organizations are investing in key strategies to make this happen.

Delivering Through Diversity, the McKinsey & Company report released in early 2018, is influencing change in policy setting, proving to be transformational within corporations, public sector and third-sector organizations worldwide. It goes beyond the original report, Why Diversity Matters, completed in 2015, in four ways:

  1. Data sets include over 1,000 companies
  2. Twelve countries vs. US/UK
  3. Two measures: financial performance and value creation
  4. Study of inclusion and diversity efforts in 17 companies that represent major regions and multiple industries

McKinsey & Company also reexamined the business case for inclusion and diversity and found:

  • The relationship between diversity and business performance persists
  • Leadership roles matter
  • It’s not just gender
  • There is a penalty for opting out
  • Local context matters

What McKinsey & Company learned from the 17 leading companies:

  • Diversity attracts top talent
  • Improved customer orientation
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Decision making
  • License to operate
  • Takeaways to deliver impact with inclusion and diversity
    • Commit and cascade
    • Link I&D to growth strategy
    • Craft an initiative portfolio
    • Tailor for impact

Women’s Empowerment

Women’s empowerment continues to be on the rise, so it’s an important time to get involved and use your voice to rise up and lead. As a woman leader, it’s my goal to inspire women to lead around the globe to help shape the future for women and girls.

Here are a few of the latest online and in person global events that I attend and hope you consider doing so also to help raise awareness on women’s issues and shine a bright spotlight on women around the globe:

#CelebratingWomenDr Kirstin Ferguson began the #CelebratingWomen project to see more celebration, and less denigration, of women online. She committed to sharing the profiles of two women, from anywhere in the world, every single day in 2017 and in 2018 she will publish a book about this initiative.

Women’s March 2018 – This year was an anniversary event that celebrated the history-making event attended by 2.6 million women on January 21, 2017.

#CelebratingWomeninProjectManagementElise Stevens launched a 50-day series, starting February 1, dedicated to celebrating International Women’s Day for 2018. She will be sharing the profiles and stories of some incredible women who have flourished in their project management careers. She welcomes the opportunity for women to share their stories. May they inspire you and the women around you to kick goals in the world of project management.

International Women’s Day, March 8  – With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away, there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women’s equality fueled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more, there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

“Around the world, more girls are in school, more women are working, and policies are being put in place to treat women more equitably,” notes Joseph Quinlan,  managing director and chief market strategist at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.

Secrets for Women to Thrive in Their Careers

Did you know that you could be your own best mentor?  Below are some tips to help you stay motivated daily.

  • Consider adding something new and uplifting to your daily routine. Maybe it is journaling each morning for a few minutes about your vision for the day ahead, or journal each evening about what went well and what you would like to work on. Perhaps, simply allow yourself several minutes of quiet “thinking time” daily by closing your door.
  • Be mindful of your physical self: eat healthfully, sleep well, and remain active.
  • Keep the flow of gratitude and appreciation flowing. Be thankful that you have the energy and insight to be a positive self-mentor.
  • Cherish the “Aha!” moments. Celebrate when you have a sudden awareness about a problem and can see the situation through a clearer lens.

Consider: how will you be a supportive mentor to yourself? How will you stay focused on your goals and keep the motivation alive? Create a positive, mentoring voice in your head, listen to it, and be thankful that you always have a guide along the way!

Network Your Way to Success

Networking is a powerful way to build social capital, a board of advisors, career development experts and be connected to an organization dedicated to help women breakthrough, connect and rise in their careers.  Below are a few of the many popular women’s networks and conferences that I recommend to women no matter where they are in their career.

  • Age Defying Careers: Age Defying Careers offers a website to assist women over 40 to be more confident and to find their own personal career success.
  • Ellevate: Ellevates’ network mission is to help women advance in the workplace, both for themselves and the greater good.
  • Lean In Circles: Lean In Circles are small groups who meet regularly to learn and grow together, and they’re changing lives. Women are asking for more, stepping outside their comfort zones, and leaning in.
  • Take the Lead: Take the Lead prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025.
  • TEDWomen: TEDWomen is a three-day conference about the power of women and girls to be creators and change-makers.
  • is a dynamic digital platform showcasing thousands of compelling stories – both known and unknown – from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow.
  • S.H.E. Summit: S.H.E. SUMMIT is a membership-driven empowerment conference devoted to supporting thriving leaders (and their organizations) and the women’s movement.

Whether you’re a woman who is already a seasoned leader or you’ve newly been put in charge of leading a project, will make your job easier. Our cloud-based project management software gives you real-time data, helps you plan, monitor and report on every phase of the project, and is a great platform to foster collaboration with your team. See for yourself by taking this free 30-day trial.



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