Gender inequality remains undeniable across much of the business world, and is particularly visible at leadership level. Having worked in the banking and finance sector for over two decades, I have seen and been part of attempts to address this issue. It's clear there is growing commitment to programmes and investments that develop more women into industry leaders.
To ensure all of this work doesn't go to waste, we need ongoing pressure to sustain and improve on today's position. We need companies to focus on nurturing the next generation of female talent with executive leadership programmes and by allowing more flexible working arrangements and other family-friendly policies.
There has been a lot of fanfare this week around the reaching of the 25% target for women on boards. Lord Davies set this voluntary target for FTSE 100 companies back in 2011. It's clearly a good thing that boardrooms are getting more diverse and having a target has meant the whole issue has been in the news for the last few years.
I'm an old-school feminist. I joined the workforce a week after my 16th birthday, less than two years after the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act hit the statute books. Although we had an Act of Parliament to say that we couldn't be discriminated against, I'm not sure that everyone believed it. Certainly my dad didn't.
The boardroom can be an intimidating environment, especially when you're new to it. Old school boards can be either full of 'yes' men and cigar smoke with a controlling chair, or a noisy room full of jousting and bravado. Neither is ideal. Global agency network boards are steadfastly male dominated, so it's something I've had to adapt to, fast.
While, in the era of the power suit, it would easy to think that a steely demeanour is the passport to success - and to feel like a failure if a difficult meeting or deadline sends you reaching for the tissues, or something stronger, after hours, the presence of emotion in business can be a good thing.
Last Saturday saw the 114th International Women's Day. Recognised globally, the initiative aims to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women, while focusing on areas requiring further action. One such area, thrown to the top of the news agenda over past weeks, is women's position in both the senior ranks of business...
For women in business, building a strong personal brand is a critical investment in the rise to the top. As Rita showed us so powerfully through the annual Interbrand Brand Index, strong brands have held their value even in difficult times. There is less risk in a strong brand and more chance of a return.
As mothers across Britain wake up this morning to bunches of flowers, breakfast in bed and handmade cards, it seems appropriate that one of the biggest news stories of the past week was the sharp increase in the number of women taking up board positions across the UK. I say "sharp increase", in practical terms, the headline-making reality is merely that we are on track to exceed the government's recommendation of 25% of FTSE 100 board positions being filled by women by 2015, hardly a victory for equality, but a step in the right direction if nothing else.