The question of women's leadership has long been a contentious issue in the Catholic Church. While Francis has changed the tone of the Church through his messages and actions, when it comes to women, many people agree: Pope Francis isn't perfect.
The Women's Empowerment Principles, a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women, are premised on the fact that women's full participation in economic life is essential to build strong economies and establish more stable and just societies.
In honor of this month -- and all women and girls who strive to make their mark at school, at work or on an even bigger stage -- I want to share some inspiration and guidance I've gleaned from the women I admire.
The fact that men, almost without exception, led the environmental movement came somewhat as a surprise to me. I had formed the false assumption that conservation work was one area that naturally offered more equitable women leadership.
It still doesn't.
As I have traveled the globe, I have had the opportunity to see this fundamental principle in action. There is no question in my mind -- women's empowerment is the best investment that a business can make.
Building emotionally intelligent teams and organizations will be imperative in order to engage people and ensure that we both do the right thing, and do it in the right way. If people are not engaged at work, how are we then going to build the necessary momentum and energy to move forward?
Diversity of gender brings a diversity of thought. Getting more women involved reduces groupthink, unlocks fresh perspectives and fosters innovation and organizational creativity -- ultimately emulating a diverse customer base.
Women are one of the biggest ongoing business news stories of the year. And they continue being a story because, for all the confetti and marching bands, women still comprise a sliver of top leaders in nearly every industry.
In today's global business climate, women continue to strive to breakthrough barriers that keep them from achieving their professional potential -- their male counterparts need to step up to the plate to help them get there.
What I see time and time again is that no matter how women leaders demonstrate their value, whether it be in the workplace, with our families or in our communities, we tend to diminish and undervalue our contributions.
I truly believe there are three criteria that are common to all successful entrepreneurs: having the confidence to challenge the status quo; being very proactive; and being at the cutting-edge of a chosen discipline.