The Blog

International Women's Day Should be a Cause for Reflection, as Well as Celebration

The schoolgirls I am speaking to today will enjoy greater opportunities than those ten, 20 or 30 years ago, and my advice to them today will be to go out and grab those opportunities with both hands.

At midday today I will be speaking to a group of young women from the company and from a school near our company headquarters in West London to mark International Women's Day, an event which is close to my heart and which I'm proud to have been involved with for several years.

When I think back to my first job, the workplace was a very different environment, barely a handful of women were in managerial roles. Today, opportunities for women in the media industry are greater than ever. 40% of managers in my company are female and these cover a huge variety of roles from my area of entertainment and broadcasting right through to strategy, finance, legal and HR.

Forward-looking businesses recognise the value of having a workforce that reflects the customers they serve and the communities they are part of. Women offer a different set of skills and have a different perspective to men and businesses who take advantage of this by promoting women to senior positions will reap the financial rewards. This can be seen in the current push to get more women as Non-Executive Directors on company boards.

However, whilst much gets said about how companies themselves can ensure women reach their potential, far less gets said about the part women themselves play. It is not up to companies to hand jobs to women on a plate, nor to waive the process of hard work and determination that makes success an achievement rather than a given. Women have a responsibility to put themselves forward more and take advantage of opportunities - to step up to the challenge.

No doubt there is still more to be done on both sides. In broadcasting we recognise the importance of providing positive role models, not only for our own people, but for girls and young women around the country. And we know there is more to be done.

International Women's Day is an important moment to reflect on these issues, but it is also a moment to celebrate the achievements of women and the huge progress that has been made so far. The schoolgirls I am speaking to today will enjoy greater opportunities than those ten, 20 or 30 years ago, and my advice to them today will be to go out and grab those opportunities with both hands.