From a new campaign comes a harsh reminder… Women are simply #NotThereYet


No Ceilings is a new campaign for gender equality in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math).  Globally, even though girls and boys perform at comparable levels in maths and science, female students are much less likely to graduate from college with a STEM degree than their male counterparts.

There is a serious lack of women working in some of the fastest growing, best paying, and highest-need fields in today’s economy. Moreover, the few women who do pursue jobs in STEM are less likely than men to hold leadership positions. The gender barriers in STEM exist not only in school but also in the workplace. Other data indicates that young girls start off strong in maths and science but start to lose interest and confidence in their skills as they grow older.

See the campaign below:

Are women missing out on significant earning potential; opportunities in a wide range of industries; and are these industries missing out on higher performance due to lack of gender diversity?






Do we limit girls and tell them what they should or shouldn’t be? Do we box them into expected roles?

72% of girls DO feel society limits them — especially during puberty — a time when their confidence plummets.  – People


American brand  – Always –  is on an epic battle to keep confidence high during puberty & beyond. They are spreading that word that girls everywhere can be unstoppable.

The first #LikeAGirl ad premiered last year during the Super Bowl. It featured young males and females, who were asked to run, hit or throw like a girl. The males and older group of females made a pathetic attempt to do the assigned tasks, flailing their arms, worrying about their hair or dropping an invisible ball. The younger girls run fiercely, competitively and to the best of their ability.  The contrast of the before and after action really makes you stop and think… why does everyone have such a weak perception of girls?

Their second installment capitalizes on the idea of breaking down society’s norms. The theme for the video is “Unstoppable,” asking the girls featured if they’ve ever felt limited by their gender. The answer is unanimously yes, and not just for the video’s participants.

Have you ever been limited by your gender? Tell us below.





The next campaign for review is one of my all time favourites. Released in 2015, ANZ’s #EqualFuture campaign is the finance industry’s interpretation of gender inequity.

Girls start off so far ahead but the system’s not designed for women to succeed. Let’s create one that is.

In this campaign ANZ highlight’s the need for systems to better support women. While neuroscience shows girls’ brains develop ahead of boys, this advantage is not maintained through life, with women too often falling behind. ANZ is launching a range of initiatives to inspire, educate and assist women and is encouraging other organisations to explore what they can do to help build an equal future.

It features a range of creatives that star young girls – educating us with facts that really stop and make you think:

ANZ’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Smith said: “Promoting diversity and gender equality is a priority in our business. This includes pay equality and an equal representation of women in leadership roles.”

See the campaign ad below:

It’s a fantastic campaign that takes an important step towards creating an equal representation of women in leadership roles.

To find out more about ANZ’s #equalfuture Women’s Initiative, click here



CAMPAIGN WEEK: The Limited “What Does Leading Look Like?”


The number of women leaders is growing—and Women’s fashion brand ‘The Limited’ wants to celebrate. They have named their 2015 Fall campaign; “The New Look of Leadership”. The campaign includes an anthem video titled “What Does Leading Look Like?” featuring more than 60 women who are forces in industries such as technology. government, education and healthcare. The faces are a diverse, beautiful, and powerful reminder that absolutely anyone can lead.

In an effort to redefine what it means to be a leader today, Diane Ellis, chief executive officer of The
Limited, said the idea sparked from conversations with clients. “We discovered there are so many great female leaders among them. We wanted to recognize these outstanding women and launch a movement to inspire others to lean in their own communities.”
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Ellis said that “We’re hoping that [the campaign] inspires women to be more active and engaged in discussions on leadership – their own leadership, the leadership mentoring they do for others, and most importantly, the idea that leading is a philosophy, not a job title,”
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The Limited is the latest womenswear brand to ditch airbrushed models in favor of featuring “real women” in its ads. It is so fantastic to see major fashion brand use powerful role models. The Limited has certainly paved the way for other brands and we hope to see more role models used in fashion campaigns in the future.

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Tell us what you think #LeadingLooksLike




When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead – BAN BOSSY

BAN BOSSY is a campaign developed by Sheryl Sandberg as a part of the LeanIn circle. Ban Bossy addresses the issue of gender inequality in leadership among younger girls – girls who are at an age that is so incremental to their self-development and leadership potential. Ban Bossy was a great source of inspiration for CONF DENCE #ICloseTheGap; see the campaign video below:

It has however been criticized for being too glamorous using Hollywood stars and also featuring promotions from famous female models. It is great to get celebrities on board with such an important issue however we need to make sure we are championing strong, independent female leaders. That is why CONF DENCE #ICloseTheGap takes a business perspective on the issue of confidence. We aim to encourage young women to take the lead by inspiring them with strong business leaders.


Having said that, Ban Bossy is a fantastic campaign and is evidently more effective at targeting the issue at a younger age.  My only recommendation would be to increase the number of business leaders in the Ban Bossy campaign like the following:

Tell us what you think of Ban Bossy below!


CAMPAIGN WEEK: Chime for Change

This week #ICloseTheGap will be reviewing campaigns based on gender equality, leadership and women in business. These campaigns are a great source personal inspiration and I have no doubt that you will be inspired by them too!

In honor of #DayOfTheGirl on October 11, I will begin with CHIME FOR CHANGE.


In 2013, Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE joined forces to campaign for gender equality. CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world.

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Three years later, the power and passion of the CHIME FOR CHANGE community continues to inspire, from corporate leaders and foundations, to non-profit organizations working on the ground, to individuals lending their voices and support. The campaign is empowering people with a voice to tell world leaders to put gender equality and women’s economic empowerment at the top of their agenda.

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Watch the campaign video below: 

You can join Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE, as they partner with incredible public support from world leaders to CHIME FOR CHANGE Co-Founders Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault to global citizens like you. They, along with an incredible list of global supporters of women, are speaking out in the powerful video above.

Would you CHIME for education, health, and justice for every girl and every woman everywhere?



Inspirational Women In Business – Elizabeth Broderick

In her position as Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, has been and continues to be champion of gender equality both in Australia and internationally.

Broderick has been committed to improving gender equality through her advocacy in preventing violence against women and sexual harassment, improving lifetime economic security for women, balancing paid work and unpaid caring responsibilities, promoting women’s representation in leadership and strengthening gender equality laws.

She is a passionate advocate for women’s representation in leadership and the strengthening of gender equality laws.

An article by the university of Sydney indicates that one of Broderick’s greatest contributions has been to shift the discourse on gender equality and women’s leadership in Australia by helping others understand that these issues are not women’s issues, they are leadership issues. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak on the topic of gender equality and women in leadership at a university event. Ever since that speech she has continued to be a large source of personal inspiration.

In 2014, Broderick was awarded the women of influence award which she explains; “not only lifts the visibility of female leaders, but provides a critical platform for women to expand their influence – and in so doing creates a more gender equal Australia”

In this speech, published by AFR, she gives some critical advice:

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She indicates that “I have learnt that as a woman of influence I must have a strong belief in myself; that it is as vital for women to be powerful and influential as it is for men”.

She gives 9 critical pieces of advice to women:

  1. Meet people where they’re at – acknowledge each individual’s contribution to the existing structures and systems before you seek to change them
  2. Listen to learn
  3. Have a deep and abiding belief in equality
  4. Place respect and dignity at the core of every interaction
  5. Engage others through both the head and the heart
  6. Navigate hostile situations with compassion and respect
  7. Share the stories and lived experiences of women with those who have the capacity to create change
  8. Find courage
  9. And finally, always remember that progress does not come in one giant leap but rather in many small intentional steps.

Broderick concluded her speech with her vision for the future:

“I will use my influence to create an Australia that welcomes women, that cherishes their voice and eagerly awaits their wisdom. I will use my influence to create a world where a woman’s value does not decrease because of another’s inability to see her worth.  A world where vulnerability is power, where difference is celebrated, where those who struggle are supported, where leadership is shared equally between men and women and where each half of humanity embraces and supports the other.

How will you use yours?”

– Elizabeth Broderick



Inspirational Women In Business – Alison Watkins

This week has got you covered for inspiration.

I have narrowed down my top picks for the most inspirational women in business. I’ve picked out their key success factors from what they studied and their biggest challenges to their own experience with the confidence gap. Get out your little book of life lessons because these are going to help you no matter where you see yourself ending up!

First up….



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Alison Watkins one of Australia’s most accomplished female leaders. However, I am not only inspired by her immense career success but her determination to break down gender roles in the workplace and at home.

Alison is just one of four women in Australia to run an ASX Top 50 company. Like many of us, Alison excelled at school and then progressed into college to start a commerce degree that kept her career options open. She studied at the University of Tasmania where she met her future husband Rod. After completing an MBA Watkins then landed a job at McKinsey. Juggling four kids and two working parents saw Rod retire from investment banking so that Watkins could return to work.

Georgina Dent from Agenda writes;

“Many will argue, quite rightly, that what Rod did is no different to what thousands and thousands of women have been doing for decades. It’s true. Why should we celebrate a man for forgoing his career to keep things running on the family front when that’s what wives have done, and continue to do, without fanfare? The answer is quite simply because of that.”

Alison and Rod had begun to break the mould of expectation… and doing so led Alison to achieve immense career success. She is a strong believer in broadening the realm of possibilities for women in the workplace by breaking down gender roles, empowering leadership and harnessing confidence.

I source great inspiration from a speech Alison gave in 2014 about ‘Conquering the Summit’. So I have pulled out the top three quotes from this speech for your own inspiration:


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ONE:  Advice to young students the same age as her two eldest children

“Firstly for the young men and women, like Grace and Elliott. You are at university with more women than men, you will get married and have kids after you’ve established your careers… Grace and Elliott have seen women hold many leadership roles. Grace and Elliott will choose their employers according to diversity and workplace flexibility. Grace’s employers will value and promote her on merit even though she’s not a tomboy, and can’t play golf, and the fact she likes the odd beer will be neither here nor there.

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TWO: Advice to women already well into their careers

“For those men and women who are well into your careers, you know you are making a difference to others. It’s the way you are raising your children to understand they can do anything. The way you are conscious of ensuring your girls stick at their maths and team sports. The way you encourage them to think about all futures as possibilities and point to female role models from all walks of life…. It’s the way you make a difference to women in your workplace, the risks you take to create opportunities for them and help them succeed, including importantly, in line roles. It’s the time you take to meet with aspiring women leaders, to introduce them to people who can help them redefine what’s possible and be practical in charting a course. It’s my strong view that it is critical to Australia’s economic and social growth that both men and women do more to develop future female leaders.”


THREE: Thoughts on the “Female CEO”

“I feel a strong responsibility to be successful for all the women who will become CEOs in the years to come – it’s how I will contribute to changing the perceptions of what a female leader is and to accelerating the day that will come when the term “female CEO” doesn’t evoke any particular perceptions.

Watkins hopes for when the phrase “female CEO” invokes no particular perception at all. Its up to us to follow in her footsteps and actively break down gender roles by pursuing our own success.



HOW TO overcome fear


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In a commencement speech at Bardard College, Sheryl Sandberg asked a a class of starry-eyed seniors;whatwouldyoudo

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Stop and think about this question. Do you hold yourself back with a fear of the unknown? A fear of failure? A fear of speaking your opinion? Or being judged?

We succeed in so many aspects of our lives; high school results, university scores… but we are still so afraid.


Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In team indicates that;


In an Fourtune ArticleAmanda Pouchot writes about Joanna Barsh a senior director at McKinsey & Company and author of How Remarkable Women Lead. Barsh says;

I was — and am — plagued by limiting fears … and because my sponsors were not versed in how to interact with such a creature, they took my ‘no thank you’ at face value and offered their opportunity to the next person — a man who invariably grabbed it.”

There are so many moments where we all let that little voice of doubt and insecurity take control. Where we are plagued by limiting fears. So, how did successful women like Sandberg and Barsh learn to disregard that feeling and get to where they are today?

In Amanda Pouchot’s Fortune article, they each give their advice on overcoming fear;HOTO OVERCOME FEARSandberg:

  1. Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire.

  2. Let the barriers you face be external not internal.

  3. I promise that you will never know what you’re capable of unless you try.


  1. Remind yourself or find out what it is that you really want.

  2. Re-center yourself on possibilities.

  3. Let go of non-mission critical tasks and accept imperfection.

So next time you begin to doubt yourself acknowledge the fear and remind yourself why your are doing it. I find perspective really important in these situations.  I was once told by a university professor to simply look up. Look up to the sky and remind yourself how small your fears are in this world.  Deal with the fear and let it empower you. It will give you an instant sense of invinsibility.

For further inspiration, watch this video developed as a part of Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” campaign.

Ask yourself;


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And then go do it.



HOW TO Accept Failure and Value Criticism


I’d like to start this blog off with a quote from my favourite author, JK Rowling:


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The truth is, everyone fails at some point.

It doesn’t matter how big or small that failure might be – we all fail. However, what you may not understand is that failure is part of success. So, for this HOW TO guide I have put my own spin on Susan Tardanico’s article “Five Ways to Make Peace With Failure”.

#ICloseTheGap officially presents…


ONE: Ask yourself what happened 

Take an optimistic approach. What has it taught you? What would you do next time?  This is the most important stage as failure isn’t negative if we learn from it. So ask yourself why you think you failed and figure out what you can do differently next time.

As Confucius once said:


TWO: Don’t make it personal

Don’t make your failure part of your identity. Making failure personal can seriously diminish your confidence and self-esteem. So don’t let it define you in other situations. Part of coming to terms with failure is knowing when, and when not, to remind yourself about it.

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THREE: Stop living in the past

You have identified your wrongs and learned your lesson. So, STOP dwelling on it. You can’t change the past but you CAN control how it affects you in the future. As Tardanico writes; “The faster you take a positive step forward, the quicker you can leave debilitating, monopolizing thoughts behind.”

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FOUR: Stop caring what others think

Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop making yourself feel inadequate and focus on you. The people who you think are judging you have faced equal or larger failure in their life. So don’t let them make you feel inferior.


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FIVE: Never fear failure

As Theodore Roosevelt once said;


Why would you let a fear of failure stop you from achieving success?

So… Let’s close the confidence gap together.


Have you got anything to add to the list? Tell us how you #ICloseTheGap on Facebook or Twitter.