This year the theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. The campaign is asking people to help forge a better working world, a more gender inclusive world.

One of the campaign pledges in particular stuck out for me. The pledge is ‘I’ll forge women’s advancement.’ So as a woman and leader for NCHA, should I be doing more to forge women’s advancement? I’ve just written a whole blog on change, but am I doing enough to change the workplace to make it a more gender inclusive one?

We have lots of leaders and managers across NCHA Care and Support who are women. I am proud of this and proud of the work NCHA has done to offer support, training and qualifications to all of our staff to help develop their careers with us. I do believe that NCHA strives to be a gender inclusive workplace.

All kinds of people make good managers and leaders. However research has suggested that women are often not seen as fitting neatly into traditional ‘leadership’ positions because women are more likely to display behaviours not typically associated with leadership traits. Leadership is a male defined concept and women who are appointed into leadership positions typically display behaviours associated more with ‘male’ attributes. Well that is certainly true for me!

So my #BeBoldForChange pledge is to value leadership behaviours which might be more typically associated with ‘female’ traits. My ambition is to set a management culture which values diversity so that we build management and leadership teams which are truly representative of a range of leaders and not people who all have the same ‘male’ traits, whatever their gender.

I believe that with diversity comes strength. Organisations that allow for differences of opinion are better at developing innovation, better at solving problems, and better at avoiding ‘groupthink’.