IWD 2024: 30 Plus Female Leaders Across The Globe Share What Count Her In Means To Them

By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 8 March 2024

The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress. Women’s economic empowerment is central to a gender equal world. When women are given equal opportunities to earn, learn and lead – entire communities thrive.

The United Nations 68th Commission on the Status of Women chose the theme Count Her In to highlight the need for greater economic inclusion for women and girls everywhere. Together with our partner Studio Bucket, Women Love Tech has assembled messages from a diverse group of women who are calling out the reality of continued gender disparity and inequity while emphatically urging to Count Her In.

Senator Fatima Payman, WA Senator

Hey, everyone, Happy International Women’s Day. My name is Fatima Payman, and I’m a Labor Senator for Western Australia. I’m also the youngest member of the 47th Parliament and the first woman representative to wear a hijab. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Count Her In, which is all about investing in women and inspiring the next generation of leaders. This is really important to me because when I reflect on my journey, I know I wouldn’t have the honour and privilege to serve Western Australia if it wasn’t for my family and mentors, giving me the confidence to put my name forward.

Trenna Probert, CEO & Founder Super Fierce

Without economic equality, there cannot be gender equality. And that’s why the fight for women’s rights must start by counting her in. Until women have equal financial rights and equal financial confidence, they cannot build and control their own financial resources. And without that financial control and resilience, women are robbed of the most powerful asset anyone can have in life-  choice.

Tando Matanda, Founder & CEO, Musa

Now investing in women is a human rights issue. That’s the clear statement made by the United Nations this year when they declared the theme for International Women’s Day.

Invest in Women. So pivotal is the need for equitable access to resources in our pursuit to end poverty and to empower women that of all the things that are impeding women’s rights, they chose this one. They have asked us at an individual and collective level and as nations to focus our attention on how to better drive investments to female owned businesses.

Julie Hyde, Podcaster & Author

It’s about enabling all women, regardless of race, age, physical ability, affluence or appearance to belong.

Lissy Abrahams, Psychoanalyst and Author

When we count her in, we’re talking about in education, in the workforce, financially, in leadership. We’re also igniting societal change where these ripples can create generational shifts that can break cycles of oppression, poverty and abuse.

Shirli Kirschner, Co-Founder Elker

Diversity is about getting an invitation to a party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.

That’s the quote from Verne Myers at Netflix, and I really love it in terms of women’s seat at the table. This means us being able to have a voice and have influence, at tables, wherever we are.

Hannah Moreno, MD Third Hemisphere

If we close the global labour force Participation gap, where 47% of women versus 72% of men currently work in the formal economy, we could add 28 trillion to global GDP.

For perspective, that’s roughly the combined size of the United States and Chinese economies.

Tando Matanda, Founder & CEO, Musa

The inefficiency in the inequitable dispersion of funding is not just detrimental to women, it’s impeding global financial performance.

Liz Courtney, Film Director & Climate Activist

As the UN Secretary General emphasizes, having more women and girls in science contributes to better science globally. They bring diversity and fresh perspectives to research, benefiting everyone.

Tracey Spicer, Journalist & Author

We need to know where the gaps are when it comes to pay, when it comes to positions of power and when it comes to the all-important influence, particularly in the technology sector and around artificial intelligence, which is shaping the future for us all. 

Tracey Spicer and Robyn Foyster at a recent Game Changers shoot
Tracey Spicer and Women Love Tech’s Robyn Foyster at a recent Game Changers video shoot

Giulia Sirignani, Journalist & UN Speechwriter

Australian women still earn less than men.. about 250 dollars a week. NOT OK. NOT Progress. Only 10.5 per cent of ASX 200 leaders are women. That’s only 1 in 10.  Not Ok. NOT Progress.  Just 0.7 % of all venture capital in Australia goes to businesses 100% founded and led by women. Not OK. Not Progress.

Lissy Abrahams, Psychoanalyst and Author

As a relationship expert, I have seen the stark reality of economic difficulties and inequality for women and how it’s affected their independence. The statistics in Australia are alarming. What we have one in six women experiencing economic abuse by their intimate partner. We also have women over the age of 55 as the fastest growing demographic experiencing homelessness.

Erica Hatfield, Founder, Hummingbird Careers

Mothers suffer diminished career opportunities, reduced overall lifetime earnings and impoverished superannuation balances upon retirement. So this is the motherhood penalty. So to support women’s economic empowerment, we need to normalise shared care, support parents returning to work, create flexibility in all workplaces and at all levels, and provide universal access to quality childcare.

Trenna Probert, CEO & Founder Super Fierce

That’s what money is. It’s a tool that empowers us to live a life of our own, choosing on our own terms and without fear. It’s the gift of self-determination, but it’s also a gift to the wealth, the data shows. Women are better financial citizens. We pay back loans faster, we default less and gift more to charity, and we’re actually even better investors.

Michelle Excell, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Voiijer

If we’re going to shift behaviours and perceptions that limit investment in women and ensure more equitable wealth, generation and distribution, we need more and different people determining the value we place on things and writing new rules for how we govern.

Leigh Higginbotham Butler, CEO & Founder, Akina Technologies.

My personal journey has taught me that even though the path is challenging, my voice and the voices of countless other black women deserve to be heard and are crucial in the tapestry of innovation and the resilience of our society from navigating motherhood to claiming a seat at the business table. We face a unique set of challenges, and yet we rise time and time again, and we really are shaping the world with grit and grace.

Tracey Spicer, Journalist, Author of Man-Made

If people aren’t included to the point where they feel like they belong, then they’ll quickly leave that industry. I feel that about my own industry, the media that I worked in for about 35 years, but also a lot of the modern industries around technology and AI. We see a lot of younger people, particularly younger women, learning about this at university, then going into the industry and leaving not long after, because the structures are very, very old school and it’s still a bit of a boys’ club.

Gabrielle Requena CEO, Wrinkles Schminkles

Equality is essential for all communities, even for women like me, in a very privileged world and country that I live in, and even more so for women in communities where there’s not quite the same equality.

Heidi Mejia, Sales Representative, Tesserent

It enables women to break free from cycles of dependency. When women are empowered to earn and match their own income, make financial decisions and have equal access to economic opportunities, employment opportunities, financial resources and entrepreneurship support, they gain greater control over their lives.

Hannah Moreno, MD Third Hemisphere

Continuing to overlook women as an investment category and contributor to the formal economy is costing the world trillions of dollars. It’s an obvious no brainer.

Nikita Shetty, Entrepreneur and Master Franchisor, Urban Clean

We would love to see more and more female leaders, entrepreneurs, all the girls and women are there. I would like to encourage and remind you that you’re strong, powerful and fearless.

Kate Toon, Founder, Stay Tuned

I think women should be talking more about what they earn, how they invest and what they’re planning for the future. I think as a woman in the early years, I was told that numbers weren’t my thing and I believed that story.

Louise Cantillon, First Woman UK Consul General, Sydney.

I hope by my doing this job to use Kamala Harris’s words- I might be the first but I won’t be the last. And that will encourage other people to think, you can do roles that you want and be really inspired to do that.

Sharon Williams, CEO Taurus Marketing

Count her in is such a lovely call to action internationally for Women’s Day because I think what we want is we want leaders and male dominated boardrooms out there to bring us in.

Count us in on meetings, particularly for young women.

Sara Gupta, Embodied Leadership Speaker and Coach

Count her in means a lot more to me than just financial empowerment of women. A woman who is leading from her whole self is deeply connected to her emotional intelligence, to her body intelligence.

Dr Kristy Goodwin, Neuro Performance Scientist

If we really want to ensure to count women in, and we want to address gender disparity, then we have to address the gender wellbeing gap. Women cannot achieve peak performance both at home and at work if they are chronically stressed and burned out. We need organisations looking at a macro perspective about the new ways of working and ascertaining if this really works for women or against them.

Gemma Acton, Seven Network Presenter and Finance Editor

Sometimes simply taking the time to listen to someone and to really hear them and to offer any constructive guidance or feedback or engage in dialogue can really push someone forward to the next level as well. Ask for help. How good does it feel when someone comes to you treating you like an expert, an authority and valuing what you have to say?

Renata Bertam, VP Marketing, Salesforce

To me, count her in is a powerful reminder not to get complacent about equality.

It’s about ensuring women and diverse groups feel supported by organisations to strive for economic equality and education surrounding economic empowerment for female employees. I believe equal pay and education are key to this goal.

Shannon Stewart, Entrepreneur & Urban Clean Master Franchisor

As a mother raising a son, count her in reminds me of the importance of instilling in him

values of equality, respect and empathy. I want him to grow up understanding that there are contributions and voices of women that are integral to the fabric of our world, and that he has a responsibility to advocate for gender equality in his own life and beyond

Emma Ou, APAC Strategy Planning Director ASUS

I would like to encourage the young ladies to empower, dream big and make it real.

Break it through If there is a ceiling!

Trenna Probert, CEO & Founder Super Fierce

This International Women’s Day, I challenge everyone to get uncomfortable, get up

close and personal with the problem. It’s all around you and become a part of the solution today by going out of your way to find ways to count her in.

Giulia Sirignani, Journalist & UN Speechwriter

We all need to be asking ourselves at home, work, to our boss, our board, our club, school and with all our habitual stuff – AM I counting her in? And if we’re not. Do something to start counting her in NOW.


Michelle Excell, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Voyager

We have to make investment available to support better ways of doing things.

Julie Hyde, Podcaster & Author

So if you are one of those inspired people who have the mindset and the motivation to count her in and make her feel included, watch your results skyrocket. You will stand out from the rest and not only watch your results, watch the positive impacts on the world.

Jacinta Tynan, Journalist, Author & Founder of The Spiritual Bookclub

Let this International Women’s Day be a reminder to all of us that true progress is achieved when every woman is afforded the respect, recognition and equal opportunities that she deserves, contributing to a world where diversity is embraced as a source of strength and innovation as it should be.

Liz Courtney, Film Director & Climate Activist

Each of us can be the change the world needs today! 

Liz Courtney
Liz Courtney, award winning documentary maker

Vanessa Portillo, COO, World Literacy Foundation

What we do is work with young women and young girls to be able to access education and be able to build a better future for each of them. So we are trying to count them in in education, so they can be counted in the future.

Sophie Sonnenwirth, Managing Director, InProfile.

I’m Sophie Sonnenwirth, General Manager of InProfile. Happy International Women’s Day!

Tracey Spicer, Journalist, Activist & Author

Happy International Women’s Day.

Louise Cantillon, First Woman UK Consul General, Sydney.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Lissy Abrahams, Psychoanalyst and Author

As we stand together today, let’s remember that our efforts to count her in are a commitment to a future where every woman and every girl can realise her full potential

Sara Gupta, Embodied Leadership Speaker and Coach

The future is female.

Rachael Williams, Head of Personal Systems at HP

You need to have a diverse workforce, a diverse talent pool, to drive businesses forward, to have those different insights that make a difference to how you approach business problems. I know also as a female leader, it’s incredibly important for us to send the lift down and make sure that for all those young females coming up through the ranks. We make ourselves available to them. We mentor them, we sponsor them. When you can incorporate all of those elements into the mix, that’s why this topic is such an important discussion point on this very special day.

We are also proud to feature other women who were not able to appear in our group video. Below is a special message from Vicki Condon AO, the Founder and CEO of Raise Foundation and Rachael Williams – Head of Personal Systems at HP.

Raise Foundation Founder Vicki Condon AM shares a special IWD message with Women Love Tech

Rachael Williams – Head of Personal Systems at HP

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