What does International Women’s Day mean to you? For us in business, it’s another opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women throughout the world. At TDi, we work in an office where women are the majority. Today, globally, many women are striking to show how without women, the world stops. If we did that, TDi would stop.
At TDi, we’re passionate about empowering women to run enterprises that do good and make money. Over 70% of the businesses we work with in Australia are women-led, which we think is pretty awesome. Especially considering the start-up space still has a gender equity problem, in 2016 only 23.5% of Australian start-up founders were women.
So tonight, we’re all marching in the International Women’s Day March on Melbourne to show that we believe in the fundamental rights of women and that equality must always be strived for inside and outside of the office.
Melissa Browne, a ferocious entrepreneur from Sydney is incorporating this same goal into her work every day. We chatted to the business and financial advisor, who works “to help women find their voice and to help them become business and financially savvy”.

“I think women bring passion and heart to what we do. A lot of women start their businesses based on this”.

— Melissa Browne, Founder and Entrepreneur

Hi Melissa! Tell us, what does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“International Women’s Day is an excuse for us to keep the issue of womens’ rights, feminism and fundamental rights such as parity front of mind. It means that we’re continuing the conversation. I think it means that we can celebrate all the things that we’ve done but it’s also about acknowledging how much further we have to go. I mean, economically, which is where I play, we don’t have parity. Women are starting businesses faster than men, they’re just not doing it as successfully, there’s so many places where we have work to be done”.

In your experience, are women-led startups and social enterprises common?

“The stats read that women are starting up businesses faster than men, researchers over the last three years out of Australia and the States report that. So its not just common, but we are actually starting things faster than men”.

Why do organisations need women in their teams and especially on their executive teams?

“I don’t think we just need women, we need a big slice of society. We can start with women and then we’ll go from there. The fact that there’s a lack of diversity is really obvious, then you have things like unconscious bias and not having different opinions coming into the mix”.

Throughout your career, has being a woman ever proved difficult professionally?

“Absolutely, everything from people thinking my business was my dad’s business, through to how I behaved. When I started out I would try very hard to fit into what the men were doing, which was really dumb. When I was willing to embrace my femininity and to be confident about being a female in my business, my business just exploded”.