When I stereotype the American startup founders I've met in London, I notice the gene that they seem to share with Penny - that American go-getter "shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" mindset. (Somewhere, my British friends are rolling their eyes at that cheesy quote.) Americans don't seem scared of their own idealism, whereas in British culture, I find brazen optimism often equated with stupidity.
When I'm speaking to my friends who are also women in the sport industry, we often find ourselves reflecting that we work in a sector that's predominantly male. It's not a new realisation. And it's not surprising. Sometimes it's a rant, sometimes it's a complaint, and other times it's just an observation of a meeting we had where we were the only woman in the room, or at an event where very few women were present.
As long as we learn from our mistakes and continue to take risks, it will help us reach our full potential. Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, made 1,000 prototypes before finally coming up with a concept that worked, as he famously said; "Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up."
Highly confident people are their own master and are best friends with their inner voice. They are comfortable being in charge of what they think, do and say, as they trust themselves. They ask for guidance, support and often flesh things out with advisers, coaches, and mentors but at the end of the day they trust their intuition as they know it will never let them down.
My view is that a woman who goes through life without taking any notice of society's perception of her becomes the most feared individual on the planet. This is because patriarchy wants to reduce her to an insecure, submissive female and as long as she rejects the notion of validation, she is perceived as a threat to the status quo.
There are a huge number of activities going on around the world to improve the situation for women, and there are places where men are working with women to achieve this. There's no doubt that this movement is gaining momentum and makes nonsense of the idea that men cannot see women as equals. It's an outdated way of thinking, and increasingly governments, businesses, communities and families are all coming to recognise the positive benefits to be had when women and men are working together and treating each other as equal partners. Of the numerous ways to change women's lives for the better, I've picked out five things that you can do to help make that change today:
Access to a mobile device can be life-changing, particularly for women. The Cherie Blair Foundation's research with the GSMA revealed that 9 out of 10 women in developing markets feel safer because of their mobile phones; 8 out of 10 feel more independent with access to mobile technology and more than half have used a mobile phone to earn additional income.
Last week, I attended my sixth Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland. I attended many of the sessions in and out of the forum and there was no shortage of women's faces. But appearances can be deceptive. Many women attending did so, not as delegates but as staffers or spouses of the delegates. Sadly this year among the 2,500 delegates, only 16% were female, down from 17% in 2013 - its highest ever. Yet, despite this, there was a real feeling that it was time to get serious about ensuring that 50% of the world's population get their fair share of the world's resources.
I had the pleasure of interviewing business leverage expert and solopreneur CEO Tina Forsyth about the enigma of being profitable when you operate a business that generates $100K or more in revenue. I invited her to be my guest because I heard her speak passionately about this topic on her Women on Top telesummit.
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.