This year the goal for International Women’s Day 2017 is to help build a better working world – a more inclusive world for women.
Putting the spotlight on driving change towards gender parity is part of the goal to close the gender gap, something the World Economic Forum predicts won’t close entirely until 2186.
With a strong team of female leaders, we have asked some of the women leading the way at Wolters Kluwer to share their thoughts.
How is the world of publishing and content evolving to empower women?
Whilst international women’s day provides an opportunity to stop and think more deeply about creating opportunities and supporting women in the workplace we must be vigilant every day of the week, month and year to address the challenges.
We need to maintain a relentless persistence and focus on continuing to create opportunities for women not just in publishing but across all industries.
Some of the key areas that require focus and need continual lobbying in Australia are pay parity, better maternity leave and less expensive child care. Equally as business women we must each play our part by contributing to the business we operate in and continuing to be strong leaders acting with integrity, trustworthiness and achieving business results. We need to support each other to achieve our goals.
Michelle Laforest, Managing Director, Knowledge Solutions, Wolters Kluwer APAC
The book publishing industry has traditionally been a women-dominated industry. Many publishing houses continue to be led by women which ensures the women coming up within the industry have great role models to look up to and follow. As the publishing and content industry continues to change in this digital age – it is exciting to see women playing our part to drive this transformation.
Alicia Cohen – Head of Content, CCH Books, Wolters Kluwer Australia
How do you build a strong working culture within your team that treats everyone with respect?
A strong working culture is one that embraces diversity – the uniqueness and difference of every talent. Respect is displayed not only through behaviours of our employees, but in our people policies, practices and processes.
Creating a level playing field, a foundation of equity, is only possible through the recognition and elimination of unconscious biases that exist – in us as individuals, and in our company operations. Removing barriers that inadvertently discriminate against certain demographics in our workplace, for me is one of the most important elements to achieving a culture of collective respect.
Lisa Christy – Director, Human Resources, Wolters Kluwer APAC
Wolters Kluwer has many women in senior roles with unique skill sets, how does this help meet the changing demands of our customers?
One of the most inspiring things about working at Wolters Kluwer is the number of women who hold senior level leadership positions. Three senior roles, the Global Head of Wolters Kluwer, the Global Head of Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting and the Managing Director of our Asia Pacific Publishing business are all held by women.
Women in our workplace also means greater diversity in our customer base. We bring a solid perspective to the table in terms of how women work and like to consume our products which helps to deliver a solution and service that caters to a broad and diverse group.
Janine Scott – Regional Manager, Customer Experience, Wolters Kluwer APAC
How are women progressing in the Legal industry?
While women have a long way to go in cementing their place in senior positions in the law, I love that women are delivering legal services in a way that works for them and their families. Women dominate successful virtual law practices, flexible and after-hours practices, newlaw practices and legal services coupled with wellbeing services. This is a step in the right direction for women in the law.
Sherika Ponniah – Deputy Head of Content, Legal, Wolters Kluwer Australia
How do we make our voice heard?
I look forward to the time when International Women’s Day is obsolete, when people will look at it as a relic in the same way we do child chimney sweeps and penny farthing bicycles and say “I can’t believe we ever needed a day to highlight women’s successes and tragedies”. That will be the day when people are treated with equality, respect and based on merit, regardless of gender.
We’re getting there. My daughters don’t have preconceived ideas about their role in society and my son has no expectations about girls and their abilities. This is how it should be in my privileged, Western, middle class world.
However, we’re not there yet and not everyone is as fortunate. While many women can seize educational opportunities and lay claim to being high achievers in business, science and government, this is not the case for the majority of women, many of whom struggle against poverty, hunger and violence. While International Women’s Day is for all women, we should particularly remember those who do not have a voice, those who cannot express their opinions, for they are the ones who need it the most.
Diana Winfield – Head of Content, Tax, Accounting & Superannuation, Wolters Kluwer Australia
What makes a good leader?
In the words of David McQueen, “leadership isn’t about being great, it’s about empowering others to be great.” This is something that all leaders I have admired have done — whether they be men or women, in business or the broader community. They have enabled those around them to reach their potential.
Of course there are many aspects to this, but two traits that I have observed time and time again in these people is that they show respect and act with integrity.
Good leaders genuinely respect and value others – their strengths, opinions, their differences – because they know that people who feel valued are creative and confident, and do a great job of whatever they are doing. And the best leaders have tremendous integrity. They are honest, ethical and trustworthy and they inspire those around them to be the same. These are the people that empower others and make a difference in the long term.”
Carol Louw, Head of Content, Legal, Wolters Kluwer Australia
Creating an environment where each member of the team regardless of gender can perform and thrive is key. It is more than business support tools however, it includes the emotional, cultural and professional support mechanisms that differentiate a leader from just a manager.
For those women trying to reach senior leadership positions today, make sure the puzzle pieces of your life fit together. Insight and self-knowledge are key to this journey.
Krista Moore – Director, Marketing & Communications, Wolters Kluwer APAC
We all play a part in helping women advance and it is up to each and every one of us to make sure our mothers, sisters, wives, partners and daughters can contribute to the best of their ability in the world we live in today.
Wolters Kluwer supports International Women’s Day. #BeBoldForChange