Laura Stebbing – Co-CEO of accelerateHER


“IWD is a moment in the year to highlight the state of the world for women. This year, it’s never felt more important, as Covid-19 threatens to reverse the important gains that have been made for women’s equality.”

“Men are key to achieving gender equality. For too long it’s been down to women to change the system, but men are more likely to be in positions of power to drive change. If you do one thing, sponsor a junior woman. That’s more than mentoring: bring her to key meetings, advocate for her, give her opportunities to do things that will help her get ahead.”

“The Final Hampton-Alexander review was just released and showed that women now hold more than a third of roles in the boardrooms of Britain’s top 350 companies. The world is much more awake to the importance of this representation than it was 10 years ago. But we have to keep our foot on the accelerator and go beyond board roles to signify real change.”




“This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge and reminds me of one of my favourite Maya Angelou quotes: “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” We’ve got a chance to rebuild post this global pandemic and we need to make sure we’re challenging tired structures and stereotypes as we do!”

“I think women are pretty great at lifting each other up and not competing. But we need structural change to back this up. If there are only one or two spots on a corporate board for a woman, that enables queen bees. A 50% target eliminates this.”

“If you’re a woman struggling in a male dominated industry you need to find other women to connect with to validate your experience, support your growth and build your networks. We are launching an accelerateHER hub to do just this!”

“Women tend to be over-mentored and under-sponsored, whereas the opposite is true for men. So first of all I’d explore finding a sponsor (a more active mentor). Reach out to your HR lead, your network and if you don’t have any luck there reach out cold with a really specific, time-gated ask to someone you admire.”

“I have always worked with incredible women leaders who put me out of my comfort zone. Spotlighting inspiring women leaders is essential to showing girls they too can do it – something we do with our Inspiring Fifty global campaign.”

“Advice I’d give to women starting out is to build a tribe of amazing women around you who can cheer you on, push you ahead, give you critical feedback – or just share a template with you for something so you don’t need to rework the wheel!”

“We’re in the middle of what many are calling a Covid-19 “She-cession” with women’s jobs 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s. This is in part due to the nature of the roles women fill, but Covid-19 is also amplifying the unequal burden of unpaid care and domestic work carried by women with many having to leave the workforce to manage these responsibilities. The government needs to lead with a gender-lens if we have any hope of getting back on the path to parity.”