Mar 27, 2023 |

Women’s History Month: Why it matters to me

Janice Mueller, VP Strategy and Growth

In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. At Thomson Reuters, we’ve had the opportunity to sit down with several members of our Women at Thomson Reuters business resource group to find out what Women’s History month means to them and participate in various in-person and virtual events throughout the month.

We also had the privilege of speaking with Janice Mueller, Vice President Strategy and Growth in our Zug office. In our conversation, Janice shares her thoughts on why Women’s History Month matters to her, the importance of Women’s Networks, and why it’s so important to pay it forward.

Can you please share with us a bit about your role and when you joined Thomson Reuters?

I joined Thomson Reuters mid-pandemic, just under 2.5 years ago, working in several different roles in this short time, including the Thomson Reuters Change Program, leading divestiture separations and now in Strategy and Growth. These roles have provided great insight into our business end to end, and I am inspired by the amazing work our teammates do daily, whether it is driving technological innovation, curating our expert content, reporting on world issues, or managing our customer billing.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

As a South African living in Europe the past 17 years, Women’s History month is relatively new to me.

In South Africa National Women’s Day is observed on August 9 and commemorates a march of 20,000 women in 1956 in protest to proposed amendments to ‘Pass Laws’ which severely curtailed where and when black South Africans could work. This day now celebrates the strength and resilience of women and their contribution to society and country. It is also at this march, that the phrase ‘Wathint’Abafazi! Wahtint’imbokodo!’ (‘you strike a woman, you strike a rock’) emerged from a protest song composed for the occasion. It represents the courage and strength of women in South Africa.

Living and working in Europe, drawing attention to issues such as gender equality, inclusion and workplace empowerment has been anchored around International Women’s Day on March 8. Since joining Thomson Reuters, I learned of Women’s History Month, celebrated globally. With this year’s internal theme of ‘Celebrating women who tell our stories’, it feels like a perfect fit for an organisation like Thomson Reuters, where we have a unique combination of legal and media expertise to amplify stories that need to be told, not only of the game changers of the past, but also in shining a light on the many challenges that still remain for women and girls.

This month I have made a point of expanding my awareness and tapped into resources such as Context, from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and considering where and how I can make a real difference.

Why is your participation in the Women at Thomson Reuters business resource group important to you, especially as a co-chair for Women at Thomson Reuters globally?

I used to think that there was no need to get involved in ‘Women’s Networks’ and that hard work and ability was all that mattered. However, I was fortunate to have some great mentors along my career journey, and as my career progressed, so did my desire to ‘pay it forward’. At a time when a lot of networking was happening on the golf course, or after work drinks, I realised that there were slightly different playing fields that we were not all welcome in, nor always comfortable in. There was also a perception that women did not support women – and that was just wrong, in my experience. So, I leaned in, sharing career journey stories, challenges, and achievements through business resource groups such as Women at Thomson Reuters.

Moving from Luxembourg to Switzerland in my 40s, learning a new language, while being a first-time mother with a full-time, global job and supportive husband, who also had a full-time job, was mentally and physically exhausting. Again, a professional women’s network as well as a mom’s network provide the support I needed to find my balance and way through those ‘firsts’.

Shared experience is such a powerful thing – there is truth in ‘you can be, what you can see’. Participating in Women at Thomson Reuters affords me the opportunity to give back, to help structure topics and connections across our company that support allyship, or awareness of bias, or create safe spaces to ask difficult questions. It’s also about celebrating the great things that the women in our organization achieve or social initiatives that get supported by the momentum and enthusiasm that the Women at Thomson Reuters business resource group brings through the collaboration of this network.

How have you celebrated Women’s History Month with your friends, family, and colleagues?

This month I had an unexpected trip back to South Africa for a family funeral, which provided a unique opportunity to connect with family, and receive messages from incredible friends and colleagues around the world. There was also time for face-to-face connection with my mother, my sister and my cousin – who had dropped what they were doing to support the logistics that last minute international travel entails. I disconnected from my screen and connected for real.

I met a massage therapist in transit, who works at the airport and sees her 4- and 11-year-old sons twice a year. She works in Johannesburg, and they live in Limpopo, a 4-hour drive away, with their Gogo (grandmother), who cares for them. There are no jobs there. It broke my heart a little as we discussed the cost of living and how she supports her family – young and old.

I hugged my aunts, ate lunch with my parents and 95-year-old grandmother, who told me she never smiles for photos, but laughed when asked to think about her grandchildren. I had coffee with my Grade 8 teacher, whom I had not seen for over 40 years – her geography lessons were still with me when I could finally afford to travel to far flung places later in life and see the geological formations she had taught us about.  Over coffee I thanked her for planting the seeds to see a much bigger world than I imagined in the small town I grew up in.

I celebrated Women’s History month by having the small conversations, making time to just be with and experience very normal people doing extraordinary things.

What issues matter most to you and that you feel deserve more attention?

As I reflected on the different places, organizations, and situations these connections came from, it struck me how many remarkable women I am privileged to know and how most of us have finished school, many have degrees or some level of tertiary education, in a world where there are still countries taking that right away from women and girls. Many of these women also have some level of sporting background, often through schools or clubs.

These two things – education and sport for children are issues that matter to me, and I am convinced that they are both critical, particularly in developing nations.  Education is the bedrock of a country’s future, and I am deeply appreciative of living in a country like Switzerland, where teachers earn a living wage, a government school provides focused attention to both boys and girls with a solid educational foundation for my child, and that funds reach the schools they are meant for.

My cousin, Deirdre, teaches mini-tennis to children between the age of 6 and 8 at a local school back in South Africa, where many of the children have been raised by their grandmother, with no pre-school experience. Her lessons activate their motor skills and hand-eye coordination, which is underdeveloped for their age. They learn collaborative play – boys and girls together – and they really play to win, no matter who their opponent is. These are valuable life lessons as part of their education, which remains a challenge in a country where many teachers don’t earn a living wage.

There are so many issues fighting for attention, and it’s impossible to solve them all – so I seek out those where I can make a difference, and I can be sure that the benefit is received.

This month I supported an initiative to empower 30 young girls in Khayelitsha, a township in South Africa through cycling. They completed the 109km Cape Cycle Tour, and the smiles of achievement were a delight to see. These are young women who dream of being engineers, or teachers, or cyclists and a door of opportunity has opened for them as part of this initiative to empower this generation of women. If you’d like a glimpse of their achievement, take a look at this video. It makes my heart smile.


As Women’s History Month is coming to an end, let’s take a moment to honour the incredible women who have paved the way for us and those who continue to work towards a better future for women and girls everywhere. This is a conversation we need to keep going every single day.