In line with this year\u2019s theme for International Women\u2019s Day, \u201cBalance for Better,\u201d global human resources consulting firm, Mercer is committed to creating a balanced approach that caters to the health, wealth and careers of both male and female employees. Gender balance is essential for communities and economies to thrive.\u00a0As a matter of fact, companies that hire women across all levels enjoy a more collaborative culture and improved productivity. Teach a woman, feed a village is a testament to the influence women have to drive change and create opportunities for the benefit of a wider community. This is why progress for women in 2019 and beyond is hinged on gender-specific policies and programmes. Some of which include equity pay and benefits, alongside national and international domestic violence laws. However, besides creating a more conducive environment supported by these policies, Lerato Tsolo, HR Partner at Mercer points out that \u201cwe still have a long way to go.\u201d In the 2018 annual\u00a0Global Gender Gap Report\u00a0published by the World Economic Forum, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden round out the top five that promote female advancement, while the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chad, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen make up the bottom.\u00a0 Iceland is the first country in the world to make pay inequality illegal. According to a\u00a0CNN report, companies\u00a0who fail to prove pay equality\u00a0will be fined close to\u00a0$500 a day\u00a0provided the gap continues to exist. Not only is this an important stride in terms of a global outlook, but it also shows that Iceland is clearly advancing as an economy. But even though the\u00a0Global Gender Gap Report also indicates that it could take\u00a0over 20 decades\u00a0for women to earn as much as men, and have equal representation in the workplace, they remain vital contributors towards building thriving businesses and societies. As such, companies will offer a more unique value proposition in securing their tomorrow. One way of achieving this is to include health benefits and financial wellbeing solutions as a holistic employee proposition while considering that diverse segments of the workforce will require tailored solutions. Across the world, particularly in Africa, not enough is being done to ensure that these needs are met. As highlighted in Mercer\u2019s\u00a0People First Emerging Megacities report,\u00a0Approaching\u00a0cities like Nairobi and Lagos rank low across these four dimensions- human, health, money and work. To address this imbalance means designing benefits, education, and retirement plans in companies that adapt to specific needs. This simply means that organizations need to offer innovative programs customized for different gender\u00a0behaviours. \u201cDiversity is our nature, inclusion is our choice. Value is created when an environment is shaped to embrace unique views across gender, ethnicity and age future of work is mainly about sparking connections, building an environment that promotes a coherent sense of identity,\u201d said Nicol Mullins, Principal Leader -Career Business at Mercer South Africa. He also emphasizes the need to embrace one another and realize that together is better. Mercer\u2019s\u00a02018 Gender Inflection report has found that women are better represented in organizations that view women\u2019s health as critical to developing and retaining women and that offer targeted programs, including gender-specific health education campaigns and parental leave. Efforts to improve financial wellness can also help mitigate the risk that productivity is being lost to time spent worrying about finances while at work. The current landscape and dynamics of gender diversity provide a unique opportunity and platform for organizations to make strides. But while the overall progress towards diversity in the workplace may be a long one, every organization that considers inclusion as a strategy to drive.