2020 Perfect Vision on Gender Equality

The year is 2020. The time is now to make gender equality a reality. Here’s how you can engage with likeminded individuals around the world.

Just as the World Economic Forum set Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators “to create global and national public-private collaboration platforms (…) to address current gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future,” many organizations have set their own gender equality goals for 2020.  For our company it’s a big year as well. With the motto: 2020 Perfect Vision on Gender Equality, we are rolling out the 3rd annual “Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas,” a Red Shoe Movement Gender Equality global initiative.

We've been Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas, a Red Shoe Movement Gender Equality Global Initiative since 2018

We’ve been Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas, a Red Shoe Movement Gender Equality Global Initiative since 2018

Why do we ring the bell for gender equality?

A few years ago, UN Women, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges, IFC, Women in ETFs and the World Federation of Exchanges created the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” to “raise awareness of the pivotal role that the private sector plays in advancing gender equality to achieve SDG 5.” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.) With this mission in mind, every year for International Women’s Day, March 8, (or close to that date) women ring the bell at stock exchanges worldwide.

Considering that the Red Shoe Movement’s mission is to accelerate the representation of women at the highest levels of leadership, it was only natural for us to support and echo the UN’s initiative with one of our own.

Ringing the bell in Tel Aviv

Ringing the bell in Tel Aviv

Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas

I’m sure you’ve heard that water represents 71% of our beloved planet Earth. This invaluable fluid substance never sits still. It’s constantly moving dynamically connecting us, nurturing us and making life possible. It’s the world’s connective tissue bar none, a true example of a global force with the power to erase distances and differences, and to bridge all gaps.

And since water has long been associated with emotion and intuition (starting with the Greek philosophers Empedocles and Plato,) it has also been associated with the feminine. No wonder then, that we call our initiative “Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas,” the best way we know to communicate that gender equality is an issue that affects us all, and only by having men and women working side by side will we achieve success.

On International Women’s Day we echo the UN’s Ring the Bell for Gender Equality. We extend an immersive, hands-on invitation for everyone to grab their bell and join the worldwide conversation. We will be ringing the bell once again on the 7 seas and the 7 continents with a large number of partner organizations and millions of individuals. 

RSM Gender Bell 2020 commissioned to visual artist Scherezade Garcia

RSM Gender Bell 2020 commissioned to visual artist Scherezade Garcia

Debuting our 20/20 RSM Bell

From the beginning of our initiative the bell has played a key role. From the CEO of the company to guests, executives, associates all ceremony participants are invited to take turns ringing it.

We felt it was time to elevate the bell to an art piece and in doing so, conveying the message that this is no ordinary object but the symbol of a collective call to action. To achieve that, we commissioned Scherezade García, a unique visual artist with the kind of synergy you can only dream about. Born in the Caribbean, in the Dominican Republic, Scherezade moved to the island of Manhattan where she resided until years ago she moved to Brooklyn. Both the sea and the issue of inclusion have been a constant thread in her artistic exploration, culminating recently in her Liquid Highway series. For our project Scherezade created Chromatic Current, a painting that now graces our limited-edition bell collection.

Scherezade Garcia with RSM 20/20 Bell

Scherezade Garcia with RSM 20/20 Bell

“The sea is the liquid highway and the keeper of our ancestral memory. It carries our stories, our DNA, our memories, and our history. With this project I aim to imply the universal connection and the fluidity of our identities and our lives,” said Sherezade about her work. “The RSM 20/20 Bell is like a brush that I dipped inside my paint and it came out dressed up by the sea. When people ring it, they are calling upon all the stories that we weave together when we sail through the planet’s oceans. The sound has the remarkable power to unify us, men and women pulling together towards gender equality.”

Grab the Bell for a Perfect Vision on Gender Equality

Grab the Bell for a Perfect Vision on Gender Equality

Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas with You!

Our Smart Lead & Celebrating Partners

For this year’s exciting celebration, we are joined by Honeywell, our Smart Lead, ranked 77 in the Fortune 500 list, a company that produces commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems. And by our amazing Celebrating Partners: Microsoft, Ultimate Software, Lexus, the Panama Canal Authority and the California Maritime Academy.

Gender equality for our time

You can already see how for the new generation, the one Greta Thurnberg leads (more so now that she’s Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year,) gender equality is a given. Young people today don’t even understand why we need to have this conversation. Inclusion is part of their make-up and gender fluidity one of the tenets that support their understanding of inclusivity. Yet, until there’s a full generational replacement in the workplace, several different generations will continue to work side by side for many years to come. So, the challenge of reaching gender equality in pay and in leadership positions will remain one we all need to address.

“Ringing the Bell on the 7 Seas” is a fun, yet truly effective way to raise global awareness while encouraging everyone to actively engage with one of the key issues of our century. Join us, our Smart Lead and Celebrating Partners by grabbing your bell and wearing your red shoes and ties. Let’s make some noise together. Sound carries strong and clear across the oceans.

Shantaa Foster rings the bell for gender equality

Shantaa Foster rings the bell for gender equality

Our Founding Sponsor 

Joining forces with Celebrity Cruises was a no-brainer. A company led by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, a CEO set on changing the industry by making gender equality a priority, its ships started ringing the bell in every corner of the globe with the Red Shoe Movement on March 8, 2018. That first year, my team and I joined Lisa onboard Celebrity Summit at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale while the rest of the fleet as well as Royal Caribbean Offices joined from their own locations.

In 2019, we boarded the Celebrity Reflection anchored in front of Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea and then took a small tender to reach the Celebrity Edge, which was strategically positioned only a couple of miles away. After leading the morning bell-ringing ceremonies on each ship, we sailed on the Edge to Fort Lauderdale and took part of one of the Red Parties that Celebrity hosted on each vessel. We were joined by Ultimate Software, our Tech lead, a company that offers Human Resources software solutions, who carried out bell-ringing ceremonies in 18 locations from Singapore to Toronto.

In 2020, we recognize Celebrity’s leadership with the first RSM Hall of Fame Women Ensemble Award honoring four of their leaders: Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President & CEO, Captain Kate McCue, First North American female captain of a cruise ship, Captain Nathaly Alban, First Ecuadorian Captain of a cruise ship and Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, First West African Bridge Officer.


On International Women’s Day 2019 We Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas

International Women’s Day 2019 is an important day for organizations to take a stand on gender parity. To show their support for an inclusive workplace. Join us in a unique celebration that resonates worldwide!

International Women’s Day 2019 is the perfect platform to celebrate the professional, political, social and cultural achievements of women while shedding light on the need for more women in top leadership positions. And although this is exactly what we do year-round with our #RedShoeTuesday campaign, on Friday, March 8, we kick it up a notch.

Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas on International Women's Day

Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas on International Women’s Day 2019

For the second year in a row, we will “Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas” with Celebrity Cruises, a Red Shoe Movement® Gender Equality global initiative. We echo the UN Global Compact “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” with stock exchanges. An initiative that brings the attention for the need of more involvement by the private sector to elect women on boards.  But we will not only ring the bell on the 7 seas, we will do so on the 7 continents as well.

“We are thrilled to team up once again with Celebrity Cruises. This year we actively set sail for gender equality.Working with Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, we get to see her innovative style in action as she thinks in inclusive terms from the design of a ship like the Edge to the Captain at the helm. It’s exciting to see the entire Celebrity fleet and offices around the world take part of this International Women’s Day event,” said Mariela Dabbah, founder and CEO, Red Shoe Movement.

International Women's Day women on the bridge

International Women’s Day women on the bridge

Lutoff-Perlo will join Dabbah for the ceremony on the Celebrity Edge and the Celebrity Reflection. The two ships will be anchored side by side in Grand Cayman so that guests and crew can participate in a joint event on the top decks of both vessels. The ceremony itself entails an introduction to International Women’s Day and to the Ring the Bell on the 7 Seas initiative, followed by the captain of the ship reading the Ring the Bell Manifesto and ringing the bell by several people. As it can be expected, everyone wears red shoes, ties, and accessories to honor the Red Shoe Movement’s mission of accelerating the representation of women at the top.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the RSM for a second year to carry out this initiative and bring the message supporting gender equality to every corner of the world with our ships. As a female executive in a field that continues to need more women on the bridge and in leadership positions, I am devoted to this issue one concrete action at a time. For our guests and crew to stand together as they Ring the Bell for gender equality is quite special,” shared Lutoff-Perlo.

International Women’s Day 2019— A Special Award

On International Women’s Day 2019, Captain Kate McCue, the first North American female captain of a cruise ship, will be honored with the Red Shoe Leader Award as a role model of inclusive leadership. Not only is she part of a small group of female captains of cruise ships, but she has also developed a global reputation in the industry. Her passengers, crew and colleagues adore her unique style. Come meet her on our Instagram Live on Friday, March 8.

Viv Maza, Chief People Officer Ultimate Software

Viv Maza, Chief People Officer Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software joins International Women Day’s 2019 event

Part of the coverage of the 7 continents will be delivered by the Ring the Bell Tech Lead Ultimate Software. The organization, a leader in the creation of Human Resources solutions, and recognized as one of Fortune 100best places to work for, will conduct bell ringing ceremonies in numerous locations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

“Ultimate’s women leaders have helped build and shape our business from the beginning,” said Scott Scherr, CEO, president, and founder of Ultimate Software. “A culture of equality—where we value, respect, and care for all individuals, every day—has been one of the main drivers of our success. We’re proud to join this movement and celebrate International Women’s Day together.”

Ultimate Software, tech lead of the Rings the Bell on the 7 Seas

Ultimate Software, tech lead of the Rings the Bell on the 7 Seas

Clearly, Ultimate Software is not your run of the mill tech company. They demonstrate day in and day out that they care for 10% of their associates.

In a time when there are only 5% of women in leadership positions in the tech industry, nearly half of all women at Ultimate Software are leaders. It’s the reflection of CEO Scott Scherr’s commitment to equality and that’s the main reason why this year we honor him with our Hall of Fame. “Ultimate is a leader by example, proving that a companywide focus on equality brings real change,” said Dabbah.

Celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 with us!

Moving the needle in female representation at the top doesn’t happen by remembering the issue once a year. But International Women’s Day offers a global platform to continue to elevate the conversation. Don’t stay quiet on March 8. Join our conversation on social media using #GenderBell#IWD2019 #IWDleader.

Don’t miss our Instagram Live with Captain Kate McCue and Mariela Dabbah on March 8, 2019.


This International Women's Day join us with our hashtags #GenderBell #IWD2019 #IWDleader

This International Women’s Day join us with our hashtags #GenderBell #IWD2019 #IWDleader


International Women’s Day – 4 Steps to Success

This international women’s day do something specific to change your life. Follow these 4 steps to success and you’ll be more empowered than ever before!

I love having a day when all eyes are on women. But don’t forget that what really counts is what we do the rest of the year!

Since 1914, March 8th has been the official International Women’s Day, a day when the entire world celebrates our gender. Given the persistent salary gap, I welcome any opportunity to bring attention to what we need to do as a society to eradicate the gap. That’s why I celebrate this day with this special video. It’s the kickoff to a conversation that the Red Shoe Movement community keeps up year round.

This blog takes the idea shared in the video to the next level. So, I suggest you watch the video before you keep on reading.

International women’s Day Four steps to achieve success

In the video I invite you to think about what you really want to do in your professional career. And what is stopping you. It may seem like a simple question but far from it. I ask it myself every two or three years just to make sure I’m on the right path.

1Recognize once and for all that you can’t do it all

A sad effect of the ongoing debate about whether women can do it all or not, is that it confuses and stresses us out.

Women can do whatever they want but they can't do it all at once. Nobody Can. | International Women's Day

International Women’s Day quote by Mariela Dabbah

Admitting this will help you make peace with yourself. Choose what you want to do at each moment of your life. Give it priority. As the stage of your life changes, adjust your priority. Instead of trying to do everything at the same time, choose. And ask for help to fulfill everything else that’s outside your number one priority.

2Discover your long-term priority

You read correctly. It says “priority” and not “priorities.” Identifying what professional achievement you value most will enable you to focus on it. In turn, that will produce results faster than when you disperse your attention in several “priorities.”

So, if you haven’t done so yet, ask yourself these two questions:

What do I really want to do professionally? What do I want my most powerful contribution to be?

It may be a hard question to answer. More so if you are creative or have multiple interests or talents. How to decide what to choose? But hereby lies the secret of happiness and success. Only when you loose something can you gain something. And only when you stop doing something can you concentrate on doing what fulfills you the most.

Happy International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day

If you are really interested in exploring what really moves you, pick up a copy of Find Your Inner Red Shoes. You won’t regret it!

Once you answer these two questions the next step to achieve success is…

3Say “no” to almost everything

That’s right! If you don’t learn to say “no” to the activities and opportunities that don’t support your professional priority you run the risk of deluding your goal!

For women this is particularly hard because we are wired to please others and saying “no” comes at a cost. (This is also a characteristic of the Latino culture, so if you are a Latina, you face a double wamy in this department!)

Here’s a very unique selection of practical ideas to achieve life balance.

So for example, if you’ve decided that within five years you’ll become the best financial manager of your company, you’ll have to say “no” to meetings that are not directly aligned with your goal. Every time someone or something has a demand on your time, you’ll have to ask yourself: “Does this advance my priority or distracts me from achieving it?” Every time your answer is not a resounding, “Yes, it advances my priority,” you should politely decline.

Learn to say "no" frequently. It's the only way to focus on your priority and to see results.

International Women’s Month quote by Mariela Dabbah

And there are many ways of saying “no” without offending others: “I’d love to but I have a previous commitment,” “Let me check my calendar and I’ll get back to you…” What matters is that you practice saying “no” daily so you become increasingly comfortable and feel liberated when you do it!

4Moving into action

Being clear about your long-term priority allows you to ask daily:
“What is the most important thing right now?” Attention to the here and now enables us to move into action. And the truth is that just thinking about your priority and not putting it into action is worthless. In order for anything to happen, you need to do something every day that gets you closer to your long-term goal. When you focus on what is important now (an idea discussed in depth in Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism”) you will feel the peacefulness that clarity affords. And you’ll avoid the stress of pushing multiple priorities at the same time.

To achieve your success discover your inner red shoe with the Red Shoe Movement

To achieve your success discover your inner red shoe with the Red Shoe Movement

You can use the same 4-steps for success in all aspects of your life. Once you figure out the priority for each area you’ll feel more balanced and happy.

Take advantage of this International Women’s Day to do this exercise. I promise it will change your life!

And check out today the RSM Step Up Program if you want the coaching you need and a global community of professional women to support your goals!

The RSM Step Up Program. You Amplified!

The RSM Step Up Program. You Amplified!

International Women’s Day: What is There to Celebrate?

International Women's DayLately, when I turn on the TV I feel like I’m on a time warp. After months of hearing white male politicians discuss female reproductive rights including candidates such as Rick Santorum whose extreme position on abortion would send this country back several decades, here comes Rush Limbaugh calling a female college student a slut after she talked about the impact on female students of the lack of contraception coverage by her school’s health insurance during an unofficial congressional hearing. What year did you say this was?

But today is International Women’s Day (IWD), so stop the engines of regression and let’s celebrate. Let’s make lists and lists of all those things that are better for women now than they were a little over 100 years ago when the first IWD was celebrated. Let’s all feel a sense of accomplishments. But wait. Maybe we should reflect on how slow the progress has been.

Because although there’s been progress and women still have the right to vote, other hard-won rights have been debated ad nauseum in the public discourse lately.

Other facts to keep in mind include that in America, women are more likely to be in poverty than men, they make up about 50 percent of the workforce but occupy less than 14.5 percent of board seats in Fortune 500 companies and only 10.3 percent in public companies. (The level of representation is much lower when it comes to diverse talent.)

And what’s most disturbing, the representation of women in government continues to be extremely low. Women hold 17 percent of Senate seats and 16.8 percent of seats in the House of Representatives. (Women of color represent only 4.5 percent of the total members of Congress.) There are six women governors and only two women of color who serve as such. The U.S. ranks #69 in the world in terms of female representation in national legislatures and according to a Catalyst study, we are tied with Turkmenistan! Hurray!

I recently attended the unveiling of a United Nations Development Programme book called Empowering Women for Strong Political Parties, A Guidebook to Promote Women’s Political Participation. Developed in partnership with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, it is a practical guide that includes the best international practices to help political parties develop female politicians.

If we are serious about equal rights and empowering women, forming strong politicians that can be elected is a necessary step in the right direction. These are the women who make decisions about our towns, cities and states and, hopefully not too far into the future, about our country. They are the champions who speak up for the millions who don’t have a voice. The ones who can change some of the rules and practices that have openly or inadvertently impacted women in a negative way for years.

So I propose that this International Women’s Day we don’t only celebrate the past achievements but look into clear ways in which we can continue to move the needle forward. For what is great progress to some, is slow progress to a lot of others.

Mariela Dabbah’s new book Poder de Mujer (Woman Power) was just released by Penguin, March 6th and immediately became Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release in Books in Spanish.

This article first appeared on Fox News Latino.