There are times when I find it hard to believe that we’re still giving a headline to a news story about the third woman to become an assistant coach in the history of the NBA. And then promote NBA coaching courses for women like it’s a viable career pathway.

It reminds me that in 2018, it’s still challenging to be a woman in many fields of the professional world. And for many men and some women, there’s little comprehension of the struggle. There’s even a sense that women are too pushy. A protected species. Getting overwhelming rights stacked in their corner. But I need to put this right. That is not the case. There’s more talk of gender equity. And more reflection on the obstacles. But the world is still only taking baby steps.

I lead a women-focused international charity. Because women are the most marginalised demographic in the Developing World. And women are the most effective agents of change for their families and communities. There are times when I feel a pressure to adjust the target group. A suggestion that men may be affronted or turned off by this focus. Or even miss out on needed opportunities. And many of these suggestions I hear from women.

I want to respond. Kindly. There is no need to protect or make a way for the men. They have place and power. Even in the poorest communities. From the day they are born, they wake knowing they are more likely to be voted head of the class, be permitted greater freedoms and be looked to when decisions are to be made. In the working world, they enjoy higher rates of pay and have an inside running on more and higher level employment opportunities. They able to go out with friends at night or argue with their partners without the same threat of serious violence.

My husband tells me that as a six or seven year old, he has a conscious memory of saying to himself, “I’m so glad I wasn’t born a girl.”

Today, I’m a mother to three sons and have been married for more than 35 years. I’ve worked in senior professional roles and enjoy a wide network of friends, men as well as women. I’ve quietly carried the flag for women to be seen as capable, resilient, passionate and visionary. Yet 40 years since entering the workforce, I see firsts, seconds and thirds that remind me that the march to equity is far from over. And any man or woman who thinks it is, is doing a great disservice to the generations who are to come. ❤️