To mark International Women’s Day, the Tory Burch Foundation has launched a global campaign called #EmbraceAmbition, to encourage women to do just that.
Inspired by Tory Burch’s personal experiences, both as a woman and a successful entrepreneur, the campaign aims to highlight the double standards surrounding the issue of ambition, which is often seen as a positive attribute in men but a negative one in women.
Burch has enlisted a bevy of successful females to support the cause and has released a “public service announcement” video featuring male and female celebrities and business leaders such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Kerry Washington, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Anna Wintour, Sheryl Sandberg and Melinda Gates. “Ambition is sexy,” says Chris Pine in the inspiring video – and we couldn’t agree more. “Ambition is not a dirty word. I can think of a lot of dirty words, ambition is not one of them,” adds Reese Witherspoon with a cheeky grin.
According to the foundation: “Forty years since the beginning of the modern women’s rights movement, the numbers associated with women’s parity with men in the workplace are still appallingly low. Only four per cent of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies are women and, similarly, women hold less than 20 per cent of board seats. In government, the numbers are no different. Women make up about 19 per cent of congress and account for less than 10 per cent of top national leaders globally.”
“While there are systematic impediments to women’s success in business, cultural mores are also to blame,” explains Burch, founder of the Tory Burch Foundation. “In one of my first interviews, a reporter mentioned the word ‘ambitious’, and I commented that the word annoyed me. A friend of mine said, ‘You should never shy away from that word’. She was right. I realised that I had bought into the stigma that women shouldn’t be ambitious — that it was unattractive. That creates a harmful double standard that we must overcome in order to achieve equality.”
To be a part of the campaign, visit EmbraceAmbition.org and take a digital pledge to #EmbraceAmbition. Then challenge friends to take the pledge and share their ambitions on social media using the hashtag. The foundation’s multi-faceted campaign will also include content and tools related to confidence and goal-setting, as well as interviews with successful women about ambition.
“Most women are ambitious, but many are afraid to show it,” says Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation. “Our goal is for women to take a moment to think about whether they’ve been hiding their ambition and to question that.”