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Think Global Women community celebrates International Women’s Day 2024

by | Mar 12, 2024

Relocate Global and the Think Global People community marked International Women’s Day in London at the Institute of Directors on Friday 8 March.

Guests from across our Think Global People community joined speaker Joy Burnford, author of ‘Don’t Fix Women’, and panellists Patrizia Kokot-Blamey, author of ‘Gendered Hierarchies of Dependency’ and CIPD fellow and performance and talent management leader Amira Kohler, to share practical steps that inspire inclusion and create ripples of change in our organisations.

This is the sixth year Relocate Global has held an International Women’s Day event. Citing the unrivalled wealth of resources and content Relocate Global, ‘Think Global People’ magazine and Think Global People have amassed over this time, and the importance of equity in today’s global workplace, Fiona Murchie, managing editor, said “We definitely have the determination to continue pushing things on for diversity and inspiring inclusion. Today is a fabulous way to do this.”

She introduced the day’s programme, which was designed “to ignite new thinking, collaboration and solution-finding” to improving inclusion. Referring to the latest reports on pay parity, Fiona added “the time is right to make sure companies are doing meaningful things.”

The data remind us that – as economist Dr Anino Emuwa said at 2023’s event – women’s lack of representation makes dealing with today’s big global challenges much harder, more expensive and riskier for both businesses and societies.

“It is time to move things forward – and for the people across this community of managers and leaders in international roles, global mobility professionals and educators to come together and do this,” said Fiona. “By the end of today, we will be well on our way to producing good-practice guidelines to accelerate equality and inspire inclusion.”

PACE and SPACES – towards gender equity at work

Keynote speaker Joy Burnford, CEO of Encompass Equality, framed the challenges to achieving gender representation and pay parity within the day’s theme of ‘inspiring inclusion’.

She discussed the importance of allyship and flexibility for effecting cultural change in organisations.

Explaining this means “calling men in, not out”, Joy highlighted how “we all have a role in moving the dial and creating systemically conditions that enable women to thrive”. She also spoke of the benefits for business of doing this around performance and profitability, with examples from FTSE100 companies.

Joy talked through her book, ‘Don’t Fix Women’, which includes the importance of understanding the issues affecting women and educating yourself, as well as others, about the obstacles in order to lead with passion, accountability, curiosity and empathy (PACE).

Practical everyday actions to create more inclusive cultures include: sponsorship; passing on opportunities; acting with insight; communicating with curiosity; engaging with women in meetings; and setting an example (SPACES).

It is through these four compass points of education, understanding obstacles women face, leading with PACE and creating SPACE, that allyship and flexibility will flow. It will also develop workplaces where everyone – not just women – can have “confidence in their individuality.”

The role of performance management

After Joy’s thought-provoking keynote, panellists Patrizia Kokot-Blamey and Amira Kohler unpacked with panel chair Marianne Curphey what is one of the most significant obstacles to career advancement women can face in this context: the performance appraisal process and performance management, promotion and progression.

Amira Kohler noted women tend to underrate their performance and “berate themselves in technicolour”, while Patrizia Kokot-Blamey highlighted fascinating cross-cultural insights from her research, which are highly relevant to supporting women to progress in their global careers today. (Hear more from Amira at Turbocharging Performance event on 18 & 19 April)

Backing up conversations with data, being aware of bias and adopting ongoing coaching conversations can all help to create the conditions for more women to thrive, they concluded.

Outstanding global leadership

The Think Global Women celebration provided plenty of opportunities for guests to share their experiences, observations and practices on the obstacles women face in their global careers and the practical solutions.

Focused roundtable discussions centred on dual careers, health and wellbeing, global mobility, education and allyship. Feedback shared highlighted common themes – including the impact of remote work. These will be explored in later editorial and best-practice guides for our community members as we connect, learn, share and find workable answers to our hardest questions.

A particular highlight of this year’s event was welcoming many of the women profiled over the past 12 months in the Think Global People’s 40 Outstanding Global Women series. This collection of individual stories tells how women in global roles in education and business have carved their career path and leading with purpose and intent. The series will be continued in the coming year ahead of IWD 2025.

The experiences of the women profiled in Think Global People’s 40 Outstanding Global Women series bring to life the issues in the keynote and panel sessions.

Among those honoured in the series is Mary Biddlecombe of TASIS. Reflecting on the event, she said: “It’s been lovely, relaxed and enjoyable with interesting speakers. I wish we had more time because there was so much more to say. I was on the wellbeing and then the education roundtable and we all loved the idea of ‘wellbeing days’. For me, the idea of sponsorship also. Just that tap on the shoulder to other women that offers opportunities they perhaps wouldn’t have seen otherwise. It’s so important.”

“It’s been really inspiring,” added Patrizia Kokot-Blamey. “It was great to see so many women involved who are committed to driving gender equality forward in their own company as well as in their own careers. Fiona has created a brilliant atmosphere here for exchange and allyship.”

Guests appreciated the relevance of the issues and the forum for collaborative exchange. Among them, Alexandra Lippai of Savills: “I thought that this event was great. It is so important to bring people together who work in similar industries and believe in the same way of working together and fostering the same approach. This event was great for Women’s Day, especially because of the location, and it is really important to talk about the things we did today.”


Find out what happened on the roundtables and how our Good Practice Guidelines are progressing on our website

Photos and video coverage coming soon

Read more in depth coverage in the Spring digital edition of Think Global People/Relocate magazine to be published later in March. Subscribe here

Read back issues here

Find out more about the Think Global People community

Enter here for this year’s Think Global People/Relocate Awards here. Closing day 12 April.


Be inspired by our Flexibility & Choice theme for this year’s prestigious Relocate Think Global People Awards and perfect your winning entry by watching the Top Tips video with Head Judge, Dr Sue Shortland.


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