5 years ago, I began sharing my thoughts on International Women’s Day by writing a letter to my children reflecting on how far women have come in the workforce compared to my mother’s generation and the advances I hope we will make by the time my children enter the workforce. While I remain optimistic about gender equality in their time, these past 5 years have presented their fair share of challenges – from a global epidemic which set women in the workplace back by a decade to geopolitical tensions to a loss of women’s reproductive rights, there have been countless setbacks women have had to endure.

This year’s theme, “Inspire Inclusion” highlights the critical role of inclusion in the journey towards gender equality. It urges us to take steps to dismantle barriers, challenge stereotypes and foster environments where every woman is valued, calling on each of us to embrace and celebrate the diverse viewpoints and unique contributions of women from every background, particularly those who have been historically marginalized.

But achieving inclusion isn’t straightforward. Unlike diversity which can be quantified, inclusion is less tangible. It involves a sense of belonging and having one’s voice acknowledged, which can’t easily be measured.

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