By Katja Schroeder
Today it is celebrated in countries around the world. There will be more than 200 IWD events in the U.S. alone, according to the International Women’s Day website.
This year has a very fitting theme: The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.
There are not enough female CEOs… yet. The few who make it to the top of public companies are being watched meticulously; their decisions often scrutinized by the public.
But times are indeed changing. With quotas or without, many Fortune 500 companies have expressed their goal to move more women into leadership positions. Some women didn’t wait for programs, they found their own paths. And today is the time to celebrate some of these trailblazers.
Among our clients, are two amazing female CEOs. Both women don’t claim to be out to shatter the glass ceiling, but they break boundaries, change the perception about women in the work place and create opportunities every day, each in their own way.
One of them is Jean Cholka, CEO of the IT services provider Freeborders.
Jean has played a role for herself and other women to pursue a career in IT, a male-dominated industry.
As the IT sector does not nurture enough female leaders, advancing women into international leadership positions is one of Jean’s passions.
Throughout her career, she has mentored high-potential female employees. Some of her mentees come from emerging markets like China and India; countries where it is even harder for women to compete.
The other one is Emily Best, the founder and CEO of the startup Seed&Spark.
Emily believes that her generation’s political action is entrepreneurialism. But that’s not the only reason why she founded a crowd-funding and distribution site for independent film. The idea was born out of a need. She was working with a group of female friends on the movie Like the Water. They had to raise money for production, very quickly. The group developed an online ‘wedding registry’ that people can use to support the film in any way they can, with cash, services or products.
The female camaraderie sparked a great business idea (Seed&Spark) and a Fair Trade Film Movement – for filmmakers of all backgrounds.
With more strong women like Jean and Emily, who knows, perhaps in the next 100 years, men at the top might become a minority. We could be celebrating International Men’s Day.
To see where it is best to be working women, see also the Glass Ceiling Index, published by The Economist today. New Zealand ranks first place, the U.S. 12th. And sadly, Germany is on 20th place.