The CEO is the most important person in an organisation when building gender equality. It is near impossible to move the organisation to gender equality and an inclusive culture if the CEO does not passionately want their organisation to change.
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Here are some articles to support the case for gender equality
Be aware of why gender equality benefits men as well
So what should a CEO do to show they support gender equality?
- Develop a clear, succinct and personal statement about why gender equality is important to them personally
- Use that statement on the website, in the annual report and on all forms of communication so that it sticks
- Measure and review the metrics of your organisation including hiring, promoting and remuneration of women
- Build gender equality goals into the REM of the senior leaders team to ensure they know you are serious.
- Review your WGEA and annual reports to ensure you know the situation in your organisation
- Understand “unconscious bias” and how this plays into assumptions made about women (and men) in the work place.
- Understand how our community has changed with more pressure on families to have two salaries and more involvement by men with their families.
- Build sponsoring and mentoring programs to facilitate talented men and women into leadership roles.
- Build realistic and achievable gender equality targets for your organisation and ensure they are communicated and metrics reviewed regularly.
- Understand this is a challenging cultural issue that will require ongoing and long-term focus.
Show that you are serious about gender equality outside your organisation
- Become a “Champion of Change” in your state or industry sector so that you have the opportunity to meet with other CEO’s supporting Gender Equality
- Become an Equal Pay Ambassador with WGEA.org.au and commit to ensuring gender pay equality in your organisation
- Sign up to HEforSHE (http://fortune.com/2015/06/18/male-ceos-heforshe-gender-equity/)
- Offer your time to share what is working for you to achieve gender equality in your organisation.
Remember gender equality is not women’s business it is everyone’s business and research shows it makes good business!
What a man should do to support gender equality:
Dr Michael Kimmel commented; “white men have been the beneficiaries of the greatest affirmative action program ever known in the history of the world—it’s called the history of the world!” I am a strong supporter affirmative action for women through the use of targets for women especially into senior line positions. Men often complain behind the scenes that their opportunities will be curtailed. For the last 200 years they have been advantaged in almost every conceivable way in the business environment. Merit selection has been given as a “trite” excuse. It is now time that real merit is seen beyond the male persona.
Here are some things that any man can do to support women at work:
– Understand that gender equality is important (http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/gender_balance_and_the_link_to_performance)
– Challenge your organisation’s thinking about women at work (http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/fostering_women_leaders_a_fitness_test_for_your_top_team)
– Reflect on your view of merit – is it biased (http://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/myths-meritocracy-women-arent-rising-senior-leadership/)
– Reflect on what leadership means today – “command and control” needs to move to “Collaboroation and Motivation” (http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/centered_leadership_how_talented_women_thrive)
– Make gender equality personal to you and others (http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/championing_gender_equality_in_australia)
– Ensure women are paid equally at least in your in your area and ensure your organisation is recognised as a pay equity ambassador (http://inyourhands.org.au/become-a-pay-equity-ambassador/)
– Encourage others to “call out” inappropriate behaviour – as General David Morrison said “The behaviour you walk past is the bahaviour you accept” (http://www.businessinsider.com.au/inappropriate-workplace-behaviors-2014-8)
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At the Xplore for Success event last week Dr Michael Kimmel commented; “white men have been the beneficiaries of the greatest affirmative action program ever known in the history of the world—it’s called the history of the world!”
Dr Michael Kimmel (http://creativepromotionsagency.com/mk/index.htm) is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. He is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University, where he directs the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities. Kimmel is the author of more than 20 books, including Manhood in America: A Cultural History (1996), which was hailed as the definitive work in the field.
I was delighted to hear his comments at the event, as I am a strong proponent for affirmative action for businesswomen through the use of targets for women into senior line positions. Men often complain behind the scenes that their opportunities will be curtailed. For the last 200 years they have been advantaged in almost every conceivable way in the business environment. Merit selection has been given as a “trite” excuse. It is now time that real merit is seen beyond the male persona.
He talked about the TV show where men spoke of having their jobs taken by women. As he pointed out, they were not their jobs – they were jobs open to the best candidates. If we are to achieve equality men will need to share their power in business and government and for some men their “entitlement” mentality will most likely be threatened. However, this also gives men the opportunity to seek new ideas from more diverse leadership teams and to see themselves in a different light.
We need men to see the value of gender equality as the research shows that gender equality and other forms of diversity have value on the bottom line.