Workplaces benefit from gender equality and the positive economic impact is undeniable. Diversity is a hot topic everywhere in the media nowadays, but actions speak louder than words.
Apart from the issue of equity, it is known that appointing women in leadership roles often leads to increased profitability. So why is there no significant change yet?
Not a single female CEO has been appointed to an ASX 200 company in 2021 and overall, only 5% of these companies are led by women. These numbers are not corresponding with the general mindset of increasing diversity in the workplace. Something needs to change beyond structural, long-term changes of mindset. The system is broken and needs to be changed.
As per the audit of Chief Executive Women, the number of appointed female executives has been on the decline over the last four years. And this has everything to do with a flawed pathway to support woman towards a CEO role.
96% of CEO appointments are chosen from CFO (Chief Financial Officer) roles, responsible for profit and loss within a company. As women are underrepresented in this role (only 16 %), it’s no surprise they miss out and we don’t see any increase in numbers of female CEO’s.
Women need to be promoted more into roles with fiscal responsibility or there needs to be a change in expectations of what makes a good CEO. In any case, the gender balance gap needs to be reduced and changes are long overdue.
Apart from the obvious (paying women equally!), as a company there are a few easy and quick changes that can be done:
– Practise a flexible work environment for everyone. Support both women and men to not miss out on their children’s early development without any impact on work opportunities.
– Make Diversity and Inclusion a part of the leadership team’s goals and KPIs so they also are accountable for getting the gender balance right.
– Encourage everyone at work to volunteer to organise work functions, birthdays or gifts to reduce the stereotypical role divide.
– Be aware of the language used both towards women and men. Encourage everyone to be considerate in their way of speaking to avoid offensive language.
– Lead by example and be involved. Change starts at home, school and then further into education and work. By making conscious changes ourselves, we can all contribute to make a difference.
A diverse and inclusive workforce is what every business and economy needs to thrive. We are all part of it and we can all make a difference.
Are you up for the challenge?
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