The Unyielding Call to Invest in Women on International Women’s Day 

 March 8, 2024

By  Jane Frankland

International Women’s Day is one of those annual landmarks that shouldn’t just be about the magnolia-laden rhetoric and floral tributes. It’s a day that should starkly remind us of the work left undone, the chasms unbridged, and the opportunities squandered due to the gender divide. It’s a day to reflect on why we need to not just celebrate women but invest in their limitless potential. Unfortunately, in a world that can reduce a global problem to a hashtag, the call to invest in women remains as urgent as it is perennial.

The United Nations states we have an alarming $360 billion annual deficit in gender-equality measures by 2030, and despite leading efforts, feminist organisations receive only 0.13% of official develeopment assistance. Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me.

Fertile Grounds for Investment

The return on investment in women is akin to fertile ground – you put in the seed and what you reap is manifold. It’s about access, it’s about scaling opportunities, it’s about leveraging 50% of the global population to their fullest potential. Yet, despite copious evidence from numerous studies and the palpable success stories of women who break the proverbial glass ceiling, the resources directed towards this investment often seem paltry.

Why This Investment is Different

Investing in women isn’t about charity or penance for a history of gender inequality; it’s a no-brainer economic strategy. The World Bank, McKinsey, and many other economic thinkers have underlined that economies where women have equal opportunities can perform better. Conversely, failing to invest in women is not just a moral failure; it is an economic policy destined for redundancy.

We are Not Doing Enough

The voices that clamour for gender equality are growing louder, and yet the gap stubbornly remains. From the wage disparities to the micro-aggressions dressed up as corporate culture, the institutional biases against women are not just overt hurdles but the subtle, insidious kind that often go unnoticed in the cacophony of workplace dynamics. But even more troubling is the shift of the equity conversation to prioritise superficial ‘women-friendly’ optics rather than systemic change.

The Hidden Cost of ‘Progress’

The world has seen more women in leadership positions, in STEM, in politics, and yet, for the average woman, progress remains elusive. The pervasive narrative of women’s advancement being somehow tied to their individual tenacity rather than societal change is dangerous. It redirects the conversation from investing in women as a social imperative to praising a few exceptional women – the “superwomen” – as anomalies in an otherwise robustly supportive system.

Who’s Asking the Right Question?

I can’t help but question if we’ve polarised the movement’s narrative. Are we asking the right questions? Or are we merely focusing our investment in one segment of the female population – the one that has a voice loud enough to be heard, the one that has managed against all odds to emerge? It seems that far too many women are being asked to drive this and give up more time and energy when investing in the collective should be a shared responsibility.

Accelerating Progress Through Collective Responsibility

We must break away from the seasonal acknowledgment of women’s worth and instead move towards a collective and consistent investment in their growth. The onus cannot be solely on women, nor should the accolades. It’s time for a shift in approach, a concerted effort from governments, businesses, and society at large, to invest in policies, infrastructures, and cultures that aren’t just conducive to women’s participation but actively facilitate it.

Everyone’s Business, Everyone’s Gain

Investing in women is everyone’s business. It’s about creating a world where a woman’s presence at the decision-making table is not just ensuring diversity for diversity’s sake, but securing a more representative and informed choice. It’s about fostering an environment where the girl child isn’t just sent to school but encouraged to dream big. It’s time for an investment that will yield dividends of a world not just equal but immeasurably richer.

The Urgency to Act

In the grand scheme of human history, we stand at a unique juncture where our understanding of sociocultural dynamics meets a burgeoning technological renaissance. It’s a moment where the very barriers of old can be dismantled by the collective will and innovation of humanity. And if we, as a global community, fail to act with the urgency this moment demands, we would not only be denying women their due but squandering an opportunity to redefine our future.

A Call to Respond

The call to invest in women is not one that can be responded to with platitudes, performative actions or even women’s awards. It’s a call to prioritise, to allocate resources, and to acknowledge that in rescuing women from the peripheries, we are, in fact, ensuring the wellbeing, the prosperity, and the future of our planet. This International Women’s Day, the time for commitment is now, the time for investment is now,

because the time for women is now.

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Jane frankland


Jane Frankland is a cybersecurity market influencer, award-winning entrepreneur, consultant and speaker. She is the Founder of KnewStart and the IN Security Movement. Having held executive positions within her own companies and several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business solutions. Jane works with leaders of all levels and supports women in male dominated industries like cybersecurity and tech. Her book, IN Security: Why a failure to attract and retain women in cybersecurity is making us all less safe' is a best-seller.


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