In Her Words: The Best A Company Can Be & Being The Change
“In Her Words” is a new series featuring the voices of different women in our community sharing their experiences in our lounges or thoughts on the latest equality news.
A few weeks ago I attended The FQ Lounge, Home of Equality @ Davos, a section at the World Economic Forum organized by Female Quotient. Though only 22% of the overall Davos attendees were women, the vibe at the ‘home of equality’ was very different, with nearly 80% of attendees being women.
Some of the world’s biggest companies, such as P&G, Unilever, JPMorgan Chase, Bloomberg, IPG and Deloitte, all showcased their efforts to make the workplace more inclusive. Most had sent their male CEOs to take the stage and discussed how they are making equality one of their key business goals. Here are some key takeaways I got from being in the lounge.
“Measure what you treasure”
Equality is a conscious choice and these top companies see it as a business opportunity. Diverse teams deliver better results, customer loyalty and are more likely to create a culture of trust.
Accountability is the key to making things happen. The top firms have linked financial rewards to meeting equality targets and are closely monitoring progress. Training for unconscious bias is commonplace and offered to all employees in most of these firms. To attract and retain female talent, additional training is offered to top female candidates and ample time is given to teams to fill positions in order to allow greater opportunity to find the most qualified female candidates.
“If you can SEE HER, you can BE HER.”
There is also a big push for progress in the media. The conversations on how women are portrayed in the media were very impressive. In a Unilever study from 2006, they found that in 2% of ads women were portrayed as intelligent, in 1% as leaders and 1% of ads portrayed women having a sense of humour. In 2018, only 10% of all advertising content is created by women directors.
More and more big advertisers are now committed to portraying a more realistic and diverse image of women. Ads such as ‘Share The Load’ and Gillette’s ‘The Best The Man Can Be’ are leading the way in unstereotyping both genders.
Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble, Gillette’s parent company, went on to say, “We need to step up and be a role model, step in when you see harassment and say, ‘That’s not appropriate.’ Be a role model for the next generation of men, because the next generation of men, our boys, are watching—and so are our girls.”
The missing piece
I left Davos elevated and full of hope. Perhaps we are finally seeing real change in the workplace in terms of creating equal opportunities for women. But change can never come from only one direction. When companies open their doors to equal leadership, we as women must step up, gain the courage and lead the way.
This is a remarkable opportunity for women with self-belief. It will be those women who first rise to the top who can create a more feminine culture so that women with less confidence can also rise. For too long, success has meant adopting masculine strategies in order to get ahead. I’m calling for a new era where women are not labelled ‘ball breakers’ just because we are leaders.
So the doors are now open. It is up to us women to play our parts in changing the system, not just grabbing the power with the rest of the boys.
Miisa Mink is the founder and chief-doer at women’s accountability club DrivenWoman, a network for ambitious women who want to build self-belief and achieve their goals fast.