I picked up a copy of the recently published CRAVE Amsterdam today. It is billed as The Urban Girls Manifesto – I beg to differ: it is a testament. A testament to the drive, creativity and perseverance of females – everywhere, but in this case, Amsterdam.
This past week has also witnessed a discussion at the UN General Assembly regarding the progress, sorry, status regarding the achievement of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). These were adopted by world leaders in 2000 – as goals to be achieved by 2015. With only five years left discussions have provided some food for thought on where we are, and what remains to be done. The world is not completely off track on all the goals – though there is much to do in the remaining five years. What struck me most in the reports I have heard is the continuing affirmation that ‘development’ lies in the hands of women. Women are the instruments of development – in their homes, their communities and by default, their countries – they are in short, the means towards fulfilling many of the goals. (As a former UNICEF programme officer, responsible among other things for the women and development projects, this is not completely surprising ….)
This same week the Dutch media reported that the number of women in board positions rose by, wait for it, 2, in the last year. This despite concerted efforts and initiatives to boost the number of female executives.
So, my question is: should we be focusing attention (and money) on getting two more women at the top, or should we support, in every way we can, all the wonderfully diverse, creative, determined women somewhere in the middle. Like the women in CRAVE. I am willing to bet that every one of them is not only striving for the boardroom, but is also making a valuable contribution to their families, their communities, and ultimately their country.
I truly appreciate that we need more women at the top – I get the discourse, really, I do. More importantly, I respect every woman who has fought, struggled, made sacrifices to get to the top. It is just that every now and then I cannot help thinking that we should focus on all the energy, efforts and momentum that is happening somewhere ‘lower’ than the top. … seems the world (via the UN anyway), is claiming that HERE is where the potential is!
Picking up CRAVE Amsterdam and following local as well as international news this week just brought this whole discussion back.
Oh, one more comment on CRAVE Amsterdam – it gives me real personal pleasure that I personally know so many of the wonderful women in it. Each one of you is amazing for what you strive for, and want to achieve.