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Happy Women’s History Month!

International Women’s Day (IWD) was first celebrated in 1911 in Copenhagen, Denmark (which also happens to be where Femme Lead’s HQ is located today). IWD came into existence following protests in the US and the creation of an American ‘National Women’s Day’ in 1908. For the past century, March 8th has been an occasion to celebrate women role models, protest inequality and call for equality on all levels: organizationally, nationally, and globally. So of course, an occasion that we, the Femme Lead team, like to celebrate.

In 2023 the Femme Lead team participated in several exciting IWD events in Copenhagen and in this blog post, I will share some of my key takeaways from Accenture Nordics’ IWD Fair at their HQ in Carlsbergbyen, Copenhagen. The Accenture IWD Fair was organized by Accenture’s ‘Female Leaders of Tomorrow’ (FLOT) team. Speakers included Managing Director Jakob Kaad, Nordic People Experience & Leadership Development Lead Liv Okkels, Country HR Lead Denmark Marianne Fischer-Rasmussen from the Accenture team, and Nana Bule previous CEO of Microsoft Denmark, now Operating Advisor to Goldman Sachs and one of the first women in a c-suite position in Denmark.

One thing which was emphasized by all speakers at the IWD Fair was that DE&I change is a big undertaking and something we need to work together to progress. No one can score that goal alone; we need to assist each other and work together as a team. This is not news to me, or I think to you, dear members of the Femme Lead Community, however, it is uplifting to know that the larger players on the field are aligned with our values: we are not on our own in this fight.

As well as inspiring words of encouragement Nana Bule shared a tragicomical statistic: in Denmark, more CEOs are named Lars than there are women CEOs. This seems like a remnant from a past that many of us, modern millennials and Gen-z’s don’t want to live in anymore, and the ball is in our court to shape a future we want to leave to those who will follow us.

Marianne Fischer-Rasmussen shared some of the statistics from Accenture’s DE&I recruitment efforts to even out the playing field and create a truly diverse team. Something that really stuck with me was a Verna Myers quote:

“Diversity is being invited to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance”.

This stuck with me because I think something that can challenge a lot of us is how to enact our espoused values. It is easy to say the right thing and invite everyone to join, but we need to make sure that we make minorities feel welcome to join the actual activities, not just feel like token bystanders there to meet a quota.

During her talk, Nana Bule showed this video which highlights and ridicules the gender pay gap problem: it is simple enough that kids know that it is not fair but somehow still very difficult to make an end to. I think we all need to ask ourselves why that is and how we can combat this on a personal and larger scale. If we’re not actively working to end the gender pay gap, we are silently allowing the status quo to continue.

Femme Lead was invited as a partner to share our mission and vision and work with female role model visibility as well as what value we want to create for the community. We were joined on stage by other local organizations: Female Leadership Academy, Professional Women of Colour, WonderCoders, and Seed Network.

To conclude the IWD Fair, we took part in a networking session where we got to meet members of the Accenture team and get to know the other partner organizations better. Even though we still have work to do to break through the glass ceiling it is always inspiring to get together with like-minded organizations and discuss the kind of change we want to see and make. Check out the video below to see the event highlights!

Let's continue to expand the guest list and invite more people to the party (because the more the merrier) and remember to ask newcomers to join in the dancing!

by Femme Lead team member,

Thea Hage

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