Three cheers for Germany, where politicians have thrashed out a deal that will see companies forced to have at least 30 per cent of their boardrooms made up of women. The two parties expected to form the next government have not only agreed the quota, but also put a timeline on it arrival: Two years. Good. We should be embarrassed.
I have the honour of being a mentor for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and was recently asked to provide an online session for their mentees, all of which are women in developing countries. The aim of the session was to provide strategies and tips to help them overcome the challenges they may face.
To encourage more women to make the breakthrough into senior healthcare management roles, we need to do three things. Firstly, create a better network of support and advice for young female healthcare managers; secondly, provide more effective mentoring; and thirdly raise the profile of the current crop of female senior managers to be inspirational role models.
Ultimo celebrated it's 14th birthday last week, which was a very proud moment for myself and my team. It's been a rocky year for the brand due to my marriage break up (a lesson learned, never mix business with pleasure!), but the company is back on solid ground and our future is looking very bright indeed. I couldn't be more excited about the next chapter. Like any birthday, you find yourself looking back nostalgically at what you've achieved, where you've been, what you would have done differently - and after 14 years in the industry, I can honestly say it's been an incredible ride and I wouldn't change a thing...
Sitting on the rooftop of Gladys's juice bar in Freetown, I was having an informal chat with some of the women my foundation supports. This wasn't my first trip to Sierra Leone. I was there for International Women's Day in March and had spoken then to some of the women. But this time I got to have a long, in depth conversation with them about the difficulties they have faced as women entrepreneurs and what benefits they get from participating in the country's first network for women entrepreneurs, which is what the Foundation has helped to set up here.
Increasing numbers of Brits are now starting their own business, in fact there's a whopping 4.5 million businesses in the UK right now which employ 1-9 people. So if you've been hearing the jungle drums and want to become an entrepreneur then I can't light that rocket under you, but I can tell you how to do it!
Most people on this planet are motivated by fear. This can manifest in a variety of ways from mild to extreme, but will inevitably have an effect on the person themselves, what they believe they can achieve, the relationships they are able to attract (both personal and professional) and how far they are prepared to reach in their lives.
Progress definitely also needs to be made in the healthcare sector. As I developed my company there were no women chairs or CEOs of large healthcare providers who I could look up to and seek inspiration from. Senior male healthcare managers have, quite literally, turned their back on me on a number of occasions. It is important that women entrepreneurs share their experiences and skills to benefit and support others.
I have numerous female friends working in the music industry; bright, hard-working, late-20s women who are passionate about their jobs. In almost all cases they are finding themselves languishing in the same role year after year, passed over for promotions and pay rises, with their bosses blaming 'the economy'.
As you may well know, last week Labour leader, Ed Miliband, announced that if Labour were to form the next government they would encourage businesses to pay employees the Living Wage (approximately £8.55) by cutting business rates or tax levels for those that do. As someone who employees 20-30 people (some on PAYE and others freelance) at the London Jewellery School, I whole-heartedly welcome these plans.