Inclusion Diversity Equity Action Leadership
We are an international network of academic and professional women and men who have come together to pursue one vision:
To transform society so that women can pursue their dreams, fulfill their potential, exercise leadership, and be respected for their achievements.
The members of our network hail from many different countries, many different backgrounds, and many different fields of endeavour – science, law, business, design, engineering, the social sciences, arts and humanities. As diverse in our thinking as in the languages we speak, we are united by the desire to improve opportunities and outcomes for women.
The inequity women experience cannot be resolved by focusing on women alone, nor can it be resolved by women alone. To successfully challenge societal norms, overcome prejudice and remove structural barriers, men must be as much a part of IDEAL Society as women.
Essential to our purpose is education. Whatever challenges each of us has encountered along our own pathways in life, we have all benefitted immeasurably from an excellent education. It has been the single most important factor in enabling us to pursue our dreams, overcome adversity, and achieve our goals.
We are the fortunate ones. A good education – sometimes any education – is not an option for the majority of women around the world. This must change.
But even in countries where there have been significant gains in education for women, it has not necessarily led to women getting better jobs or achieving equal pay. Workplace culture and labour market laws must change too. We strive not to change women but to changing the rules of the game to acknowledge women’s uniqueness.
Alongside these broad structural issues are private, domestic considerations. Gender inequality often begins at home, and from an early age. Prejudice learned by boys and internalised by girls in their formative years cannot be ignored if we are to bring about deep, generational change.
Increasing women and girls’ education contributes to higher economic growth. Increased educational attainment accounts for about 50% of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years, of which over half is due to girls having had access to higher levels of education and achieving greater equality in the number of years spent in education between men and women.
A study using data from 219 countries from 1970 to 2009 found that, for every one additional year of education for women of reproductive age, child mortality decreased by 9.5%.
About IDEAL Society IDEAL
Society was established in 2017. The society’s official launch will be held at Harvard University in June 2018. The society’s annual meeting will be held in a different member country each year.
Our network already includes members from Australia, USA, Denmark, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the USA, and we will continue to expand. We aim to establish chapters of the IDEAL Society in as many countries as possible, developing and developed. To do this, we will seek out and connect with women in leadership positions, or with leadership potential, who will champion the IDEAL Society in their own countries. Where these women require mentorship, sponsorship or other resources to establish their local chapters, we will provide this support.
The chapters will form a global network that is vital to our vision for two reasons. By sharing their local experiences and insights, the chapters will enable us collectively to develop a deeper understanding of the complex and often culturally-specific challenges confronting women around the world. At the same time, they will provide the means for rapid, global dissemination of information, resources and tools to help improve opportunities and outcomes for women everywhere. We will also use the network to disseminate success stories, recognising that every victory is a cause for celebration, optimism and encouragement.
Initial funding for our activities has been generously provided by Harvard and Sydney universities.