This article is about gender equality, which will be no surprise to those that know me well. The catalyst for the article was reading a Forbes article by Alison Kay, Global Vice Chair at EY. In the article, where it was claimed that gender parity is 117 years away. This assumption is based on research by the World Economic Forum and can be found here. I naturally read this with dismay. I had resigned myself to the fact that gender equality was 80 years away. (Bad enough!) Put into context, and based on the 80 year gap, my 22 year old daughter will be a great grandmother (a massively biased assumption I know) before gender equality occurs. I am so disheartened that she faces almost similar conditions, stereotypes and bias that I did at her age. She faces barriers to full participation in the workforce, creating financial independence and economic empowerment for herself along with setting herself up for a rewarding and secure retirement. None of this will be a surprise to those of you who stay informed about matters of equality and inclusion.
Nonetheless, I am keen to understand more from you and begin serious discussion about the solution. I am an action and outcome oriented person, so having consumed more statistics and insights than I have had hot dinners in my life, I have grown weary of admiring the problem and am determined to change things. So….what can be done?
Reading Alison’s article, two key points stood out to me and made me curious. So I invite your comments, insights, experiences and feedback.
1. There is ‘little deliberate action’ by business leaders to address the issue of female participation rates at senior and executive levels. Despite the broad agreement that it’s a good idea! Moving the dial on gender equality initiatives is complex and requires tactical as well as strategic action. IMHO, talented women are not seeing visible enough commitment by their company leaders and will vote with their feet. Compounding the problem.
2. What gets measured gets done. Research shows that gender reporting is occurring, however true performance measurement, actionable insights and …yep here goes…no consequences for failure to meet targets or quotas are the prevailing trend. Gender equality is a performance metric, just like revenue & profit. Research shows that diverse senior teams generate better business performance outcomes across all metrics. Let’s try to put a positive spin on this. Do you know a business leader has received a bonus for achieving gender equality in their senior teams?
I’ve chosen to take deliberate and public action to address the issue of gender equality ‘because its 2016!’ (With apologies to Justin Trudeau for updating his timeline) I’d like this blog to generate discussion amongst my network of women and men so as to provide me with valuable insights and advice as I take action. In taking deliberate and purposeful action, as well as (gulp) putting myself ‘out there’, I will to have well thought out and shaped research as well as generated action by founding my own business, which has a ‘top down, bottom up’ strategy for solving gender inequality. My research on gender equality will create solutions, in order to make change happen. My action in business will deliver immediate solutions. Because if it’s to be, it’s up to me!
If you’d like to hear more from me about my approach to gender diversity, creating confident women and taking action, please contact me!