Tara McGeehan

Tara McGeehan

President, CGI UK and Australia

This year International Women’s Day’s theme Is ‘Inspire Inclusion’ – “When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.”


Celebrating progress

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March, it’s essential to reflect on the strides we’ve made towards gender equality while recognising the importance of continuing to inspire and empower women everywhere. This year’s theme resonates profoundly with the ongoing efforts to uplift women and create a more inclusive and equitable society.

The significance of inspiring women cannot be overstated. Throughout history, women have faced many obstacles and barriers, including systemic discrimination, societal stereotypes and biases. Despite these obstacles, women consistently demonstrate they are as innovative and accomplished as their male colleagues in almost every field from politics to arts and STEM subjects. Yet there is more to do, and it is not solely the responsibility of women, it is the responsibility of everyone.


Inclusive leadership

People are without doubt any organisation’s most valuable asset; like many leaders, I strongly believe that leadership must unwaveringly put people first.  Every team member must feel valued, included, and cared for without exception. This will empower them to work with a strong motivation, and a deep sense of meaning, and be more greatly engaged and also engaging. Inevitably this leads to a more creative, innovative mindset and ultimately delivers greater value for staff, clients, and stakeholders alike.

One of the most compelling reasons to celebrate and uplift women and indeed every individual is the undeniable impact that a diverse workforce and the diversity of thinking has on an organisation's culture, the ability to bring innovation and to be more productive and profitable. Studies have shown that investing in women’s education and economic participation from an early age leads to positive outcomes, including closing the poverty divide, and the skills gap, and helps to improve health and education for families, ultimately contributing to economic growth and prosperity.


A catalyst for change

Inspiring women and girls can serve as a catalyst for progress and change. When women see others breaking barriers and achieving success, it motivates them to pursue their dreams and ambitions and challenge the status quo. Role models play a crucial role in this process, as they show young girls and women what is possible and encourage them to reach high to achieve their ambitions. Nowhere is this truer than in the tech industry, which does not require physical strength and offers a plethora of opportunities, at every level; including coding, testing, and cyber to name a few and beyond that into corporate functions like finance, marketing and HR.

Every year, International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and girls of all walks of life, while also acknowledging the work that remains to be done. While we have made significant strides towards gender equality, there is still much to accomplish to break down barriers and address areas like unequal pay and underrepresentation in leadership roles. To truly inspire women to pursue a career in STEM and the tech sector we must address the underlying issues and work towards creating a just and equitable society for everyone. This requires not only policy change and legislative reforms but also a stronger focus on cultural attitudes and norms. Any strategic effort can only succeed when undertaken in partnership with public and private sectors, academia, social enterprise, and local government investment and support.


Looking to the future

Organisations that have evolved their thinking and are acting differently by encouraging innovation, embedding DE&I into their core values. And, are challenging mindsets and mirroring the markets they serve will attract the best talent and by definition deliver greater value to their workforce, clients and shareholders.  To truly inspire inclusion involves challenging stereotypes and biases, promoting diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) and amplifying women’s voices and experiences.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, let us recommit ourselves to continuing to address gender inequality and honour some of the women past and present who have paved the way for progress. Together, we can inspire women, and every individual to reach their full potential and create a future where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and contribute.


Find out about CGI's commitment to creating an unconditionally inclusive culture

About this author

Tara McGeehan

Tara McGeehan

President, CGI UK and Australia

Tara McGeehan was appointed President of CGI’s UK Operations in January 2018 and Australia operations were added to her responsibilities in May 2019.   She leads a multi-national and culturally diverse team of approximately 6,000 professionals and consultants and is passionate about diversity and encouraging ...