What Happened In The FQ Lounge @ Davos: Day One
Promoting intersectionality, battling stereotypes, fostering healthy workplace environments: And it’s only the first day in The FQ Lounge: The Home of Equality @ Davos. Leaders such as Jamie Dimon, CEO and Chairman of JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, gathered to discuss the state of equality in business today. Here are some highlights from the discussions of the day.
“Raise your hand. Be heard. Speak up. And it, too, will accelerate change.”
— Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal
Linda Yaccarino says women are less likely to apply for C-suite level jobs than men because they are less likely to consider themselves qualified. She says this “self-imposed restriction” affects the number of women taking executive positions.
“So much of girls’ education focuses on adolescence … but children learn themselves at a very early age.”
— Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop
On the popular child’s TV show Sesame Street, Sherrie Westin says executives try to feature strong girl characters and portray boys taking on historically “female-oriented” roles, such as cooking, in order to change the perception of gender roles around the world. She says this can also affect the viewpoints of parents watching the show alongside their child.
“Because Sesame Street is non-threatening as a child’s show, we’re changing the attitudes and mindsets of those grown men and women who are watching,” says Sherrie.
“As young men feel more and more alienated… it’s our job not only to forge diversity, but to make sure that by forging diversity we’re not marginalizing.”
— Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO, GLAAD
Although some may ignore including white men in the conversation around gender equality, Sarah Kate Ellis says they are important to include, because if they become allies they can further the movement in a substantial way.
“We need [men] to accept that we are empowered, that we are equal to them, and that they can be powerful next to us. We have to start talking in a different way.”
— Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
Märtha Louise referenced her personal experiences with men feeling intimidated by strong women in the room, but she also reminded women that it is important for them to feel comfortable being strong anyway.
“We hold our businesses financially accountable for diversity goals. … It was the quickest and most powerful way that I could make sure people were paying attention to [them].”
— Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO, IPG
Message-driven advertising is a key focus for IPG, says Michael Roth. He also says the company holds the businesses that they work with financially accountable for the diversity levels in their workforce, although not using quotas.
“You can be in the room, you can have a seat at the table, the initiatives can be there. But women also have to feel like they have a seat at the table.”
—Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company
Vivian Hunt discussed the importance of building gender equality goals into a company in a holistic, interdependent way. She says companies can’t just put women in high-level positions; they need to make sure their workplace environment makes women feel comfortable speaking up and taking an active role.
“The value of women working for society is enormous… If these things are better for society, then we should do these things for society.”
— Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Jamie Dimon shared memories of cooking for his daughter’s children when he visits, because she is a working mother of three. “It’s tough,” says Jamie. “You do what you can to help — and I still diaper, by the way.”
Thirty percent of JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s leadership is female. Jamie says diversity is a top priority for the company, and he believes men should do their part two make sure that women are involved and equal in the workplace.
Stay tuned for more equality news from Davos: Read the full agenda here and get key takeaways from the discussion, Why Diversity Should Be a Business Goal.
London Gibson is a journalism student at the University of Texas who will be covering The FQ Lounge, Home of Equality @ Davos. She has also reported for The Austin American-Statesman.