My four year old daughter tells her friends that her Mum cycles to China for work. I’m glad she already has a global perspective. It makes it worthwhile on the mornings when my husband and I are struggling to get her, and her two year old sister – and ourselves – out the door.
When the letter came through from the World Economic Forum with my nomination as a Young Global Leader, I did a double-take. It was a delightful surprise to be invited to participate with such an inspiring group of people.
On top of it, I’d just discovered that I was pregnant with twins but in 2012 families and business work together to make things possible. My nomination has given me just the boost I need and I can’t wait to take up new opportunities. It’s reminded me of all I have achieved in my career so far, and helped me to focus on what I want to do next, and how I hope to inspire the next generation. When you balance work with two young children at home, you have to really love what you do. And I feel very lucky, as a professional economist, that my work at Oxford Economics allows me to think about how and why different countries develop and what the world economy will look like in ten years’ time. My work on emerging markets takes me to the forefront of the global economy and gives me the chance to talk with clients from central banks in Asia, to entrepreneurs in the Middle East, to companies who manufacture products in Europe which the new consumers in China want to buy.
My hope for the future of women and leadership on International Women’s Day in 2012 is that we continue to work towards a world where women and men have choices about how they balance their careers and families. This flexible approach will reap rewards. Happy and fulfilled people are able to give their all in terms of diversity of views and skills – from boardrooms, to NGOs, to community-led initiatives the world over. I also hope that women in all countries have the opportunity and support to make sure education for their children will open up the possibilities for them as they have for me – that’s what I look forward to achieving with my fellow YGLs.
Pictured: Seven year old twins Shahana (R) and Shahala (L) walk to their school in Kodinji village in the southern Indian city of Kerala July 28, 2009. Kodinji, with around 2,000 families, has at least 204 pairs of twins, according to survey by Twins and Kins Association (TAKA), a voluntary organisation. Picture taken July 28, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta
Rain Newton-Smith was honoured by the World Economic Forum in 2012 as a Young Global Leader. She is a professional macroeconomist, currently Head of Emerging Markets at Oxford Economics with experience at the Bank of England, IMF and World Bank.