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it is a human issue
Gender Equality is not a woman’s issue
 
not just a social issue, it’s business critical
Gender Equality in the workplace
 
Work for Women
Making Work

“…despite all the progress women have made, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions…”

“In many parts of the world, women are better off today than ever before, with increased opportunities and the promise of equality.  Yet despite all the progress women have made men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry, and women are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives.”
Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg

It is actually dangerously easy to believe that gender inequality is a relic of last century, and that equal opportunities for men and women are an automatic component of modern society and the workplace. 

We say dangerous, because, when you scratch the surface, a great deal of the old school thinking still remains unacknowledged in many organisations.  While there’s no doubt that the woman’s lot in society has changed immeasurably for the better, a number of recent reports show that even in progressive countries there’s still a worryingly long way to go until we reach that level playing field.  

2015’s UK Office of National Statistics Report on the country’s gender pay gap found a difference of 19.2% across part time and full time employees.  McKinsey’s 2015 Women in the Workplace report found very little progress in women reaching management positions.  According to the Davies Report, Improving the Gender Balance on British Boards, we’ve reached the set target that 25% of the boards of FTSE 100 companies should be made up by women by 2015 – but it still remains that three quarters of them are men.

 

But why does gender parity really matter?

“Diversity isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also a financially savvy strategy…”

Clearly, gender inequality is still a massive issue in business. Ignoring it is a huge economic and strategic business risk.

With gender equality comes powerful change. Organisations who recognise that gender parity is important have an engaged workforce which therefore impacts on their bottom line. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates that a colossal $28 trillion, or 26%, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025 if women were to participate in the workforce as equally as men.

The next generation of workers, the ‘Millennials’, will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020.  Theirs is a generation for whom diversity has always been the norm, and who will find the current culture of many organisations unacceptable. A report by PWC shows that very few of this crucial group believe that gender equality is a current or future reality, and that they will vote with their feet to move on to employers who have relevant proven track records. Companies cannot afford to leak talent to other more enlightened cultures.

“To attract, retain and promote women, the best companies worldwide have made inclusion part of their culture, driven right from the top. Diversity isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also a financially savvy strategy in today’s hyper-competitive digital marketplace…”
The Diversity Advantage, Ruchika Tuishyan

 

Won’t things level out naturally with time?

“… companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.”

 

History shows us that in cases of inequality, it’s very unlikely that things just ‘get better’. Belief systems become entrenched and often unconscious and need analysis and weeding out. Achieving gender parity needs concerted effort. Women alone can’t change attitudes and beliefs, because the majority of businesses are still run by men, so this is an issue that we all need to address.

“We know intuitively that diversity matters. It’s also increasingly clear that it makes sense in purely business terms. Our latest research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Companies in the bottom quartile in these dimensions are statistically less likely to achieve above-average returns. And diversity is probably a competitive differentiator that shifts market share towards more diverse companies over time.”
www.mckinsey.com/insights/Organization/Why_diversity_matters

 

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