I first heard of the #WomenonWalls initiative earlier this year, when I was involved with Accenture’s celebration of International Women’s Day. It immediately opened up my eyes to how important it was, particularly as a father of two young girls, to inspire future generations. Children do not have the same prejudices or limiting stereotypes we would have grown up with, but public representations of women have not kept pace with the actual progress of women in society. What #Womenonwalls is doing is removing these barriers and recognising the significant contribution women have always made to our society, but for which they have not been appropriately recognised.
Why I think it’s important for Accenture to work on programmes like this
I remember seeing a politician recently asked why it was important to him to have as many women in senior roles as men and his answer was perfect: “because it was bloody 2016!!” Today it is more critical than ever for organisations such as Accenture to be a leader in changing mind-sets. As an employee of Accenture, it fills me with pride that we are really driving this agenda not only with our words but with our actions. They go to the heart of our core values.
What our clients think of it
I have met with a number of clients who came along to our International Women’s Day event, and other events that have been run. Their feedback is always consistent in that it opens their eyes to what is possible. As a company known for a commitment to diversity and inclusion, we have an opportunity to influence and to create a movement that goes beyond our own walls in Accenture—and not just the walls in RIA. #Womenonwalls is one such movement, and the hope would be that this will drive other companies and organizations to join the movement to make women leaders more visible.
What women inspire me?
My mother has always been a great inspiration to me. I was adopted as a baby and the decision my parents would have taken to adopt me and bring me into their family has always inspired me. I truly wouldn’t be the person I am today without her guidance. I was also hugely inspired by my birth mam and my half-sister. I finally got to meet them just before my birth mam passed away. While we didn’t have a huge amount of time to get to know each other, I was able to get an understanding of the challenges she faced as a young girl in Ireland in the 1970s, whose decisions where being influenced by others at that time, including local priests. That decision she took to put me up for adoption was unimaginable, and she would have struggled with it all through her life. A wonderful moment for me was when my two mams met each other for the first time. That immediate bond was something I will never forget.
My inspiration—my two daughters
Lastly, my inspirations today are my wife, and my two daughters (aged 6 & 9). Getting involved in initiatives like #Womenonwalls is ensuring that equality is not something that needs to be fought for but is naturally part of who we are as a society. We do want to inspire future generations, however, when I look at my children I would argue that is they who inspire me. It is therefore my responsibility to ensure that I clear the road for them to achieve whatever they want to achieve in their life, through initiatives like #Womenonwalls.