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IWD 2024: Can ‘inspire inclusion’ spark real change?


Imagine a workplace where diverse voices are not just heard, but actively valued and empowered. This is the essence of true inclusion. However, the road to achieving this ideal remains paved with challenges.

International Women’s Day 2024 carries a powerful message encapsulated in the theme ‘Inspire Inclusion.’ This theme serves as a guiding beacon, illuminating pathways towards a more equitable and diverse world. This also raises a crucial question: Can such a call to action truly spark real change in the fight for a more equitable world? While inspiration is crucial, the true test lies in transforming words into concrete actions that dismantle barriers and create lasting progress. 

Join us as we delve into the significance of ‘Inspire Inclusion’ and its profound impact on shaping the celebrations and conversations of this year’s International Women’s Day.

Kristy Jones, Head of Marketing, Asia-Pacific, Iron Mountain

Creating a culture of inclusion where the words we say are matched by a universal sense of belonging, where every employee feels their contributions are valued, their voices heard and all employees are given the opportunity to achieve their goals, needs to be embedded into the DNA of all organisations. At Iron Mountain, we recognise that our employees are, and will always be, our greatest asset. Our leaders’ willingness to embark on this cultural transformation journey is what makes our approach to inclusion unique. Our leadership understands that we must audit our systems, processes, practices and policies to make the necessary changes to ensure they are inclusive. Afterall, this cultural transformation is to the benefit of all – employees, stakeholders, customers, investors and board members. 

Creating a culture of inclusion is key in retaining diverse talent and ultimately enabling the organisation to benefit from diversity of thought, insight, perspectives and experiences exhibited by such talent. Diversity is achieved via inclusion and leads to innovation, continual learning and the ability to best serve customers and clients.

Rachel James, Senior Manager, Brand & Communications

“This year’s IWD theme serves as a reminder to up the ante when it comes to diversity in leadership, particularly in marketing teams. With women making up over half the world’s population and often being the key purchase decision-makers, it’s a no-brainer to have them well-represented in senior marketing roles. Why shouldn’t marketing leadership mirror the real world? Ultimately, it’s smart business.”

Janani Krishnamurthy, Director (Product)

“Inclusion is all about embracing and seeking diversity, and it spans across social constructs like culture, socioeconomic status, and background differences. True representation comes from the inclusive participation of everyone, which then allows us to make more comprehensive and considerate decisions. When we mirror the diverse makeup of our society in business, our choices become more empathetic and inclusive, catering to the broader spectrum of needs and perspectives that exist within our communities. To me, ‘Inspire Inclusion’ means to celebrate everyone, women, allies, and people of different backgrounds, so we can create an environment that represents everyone, particularly in the workplace.”

Marilyn Wong, CFO

“This year’s IWD theme of “Inspire Inclusion” really resonates with me to ensure gender diversity and inclusion across all our teams is front of mind for not only women in leadership but also men in leadership. With awareness raised on the importance of inclusiveness spotlighted during such important days like IWD, this will enable a shift away from the unconscious biases we all have. We have been given the mandate to inspire those around us to fight the good fight of being in a world where we are inclusive of others and celebrate our differences because every human is different, and there is nothing wrong with that!”

Kyle Faulconer, CEO of PepsiCo ANZ

“For me, #InspireInclusion means demonstrating a genuine ongoing commitment to diversity, through actions that encourage work life quality and flexibility, as well as building and maintaining a pipeline of female talent. “Inequality can often come from the traditional roles that females take on as primary caregivers, leading them to juggle multiple priorities in addition to work or needing to take extended periods of time off. We believe that flexibility is a key enabler for gender outcomes and enables both females and males to take on caring responsibilities. 

“At PepsiCo, we have leveraged flexibility as an enabler for inclusion and equality and have been a leader in this for many years. We encourage our managers to establish an open and safe space for dialogue with their employees and tailor working arrangements to their individual needs. “My greatest advice would be to make diversity a priority for your business – take accountability and most importantly, take action.”

Jeddah Ryan, Director (Marketing)

“International Women’s Day is a reminder to us all that we should be having these conversations all year round. This year’s theme couples inspiration with activism — which I love — framing IWD as a time for both celebration and to drive awareness. It is a call to action to focus on how we can each individually inspire and uplift other women in our lives. By sharing experiences, learnings, and challenges, we open doors and create opportunities for one another. The theme ‘Inspire Inclusion’ pushes us to look beyond macro challenges and consider what we can do within our immediate circles to foster change, emphasising the power of collective support and mentorship.”

Jeanny Zhang, Power BI Data Scientist, MaxMine

“‘Inspire Inclusion’ is a very important theme because there are still many barriers that need to be broken down and stereotypes that need to be challenged. Women are underrepresented in most STEM fields, and while the situation is improving, we know that there’s still a lot of work to be done. I graduated with a Bachelor of Technology in Forensics and Analytical Chemistry and started working for a Minerals Laboratory as an Analytical Chemist. According to government data, this role has a 40% female share, which is encouraging.

“When I first moved to MaxMine, it was initially daunting as it was outside my field of experience. I’ve had great support at MaxMine and my gender has never been an issue. We do need to keep working to make the industry more inclusive and equitable, ensuring that women are empowered and their voices heard in every sphere of life. There are many talented women who could bring amazing skills and insight to the mining industry, and we need to ‘inspire inclusion’ to ensure they are also welcome here.

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