As I reflected on the theme for the 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD), “Better the Balance, Better the World”, it occurred to me how very inclusive and positive this message is, and also how “obvious” it is. Whether it is our business, car, health or any other aspect of our life, if it is “out of balance”, the impact can be felt far beyond this.
The same applies to gender balance – when the balance is not right, it doesn’t just impact business performance, employee effectiveness and morale at work, it also has a knock-on effect across our lives and society as a whole. Getting the balance right is key to business success and society as a whole, and it is encouraging to see that we are spending less time understanding the business case for better gender balance, and instead, focussing on how we can accelerate the pace of change to achieve and maintain gender balance.
International Women’s Day (IWD) 2019
International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a day which marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity in all aspects of society, when progress continues to be slower than it should be. I look forward to the day when IWD can be a day of celebration alone, because no further action is required!
However, over the years that I have been involved in IWD events, it is hugely encouraging to see how far we have come. So much so, that IWD is a day which is now proudly acknowledged and marked by many firms rather than just a few firms, as it was not so long ago.
Gender Diversity is improving
Overall, on a global scale, we see companies more willing to report granular data on gender diversity than ever before. In the last 5 years, we have seen a 6% increase of companies reporting female manager numbers. This is having impact, with the recent improvements at board and executive ranks globally reflecting the increasing focus on gender diversity at the corporate leadership level, with a 5.6% increase in female executives from 2016-2017. (Source: Refinitiv ESG Data)
Like Refinitiv, it is important that firms take decisive and public action by signing up to the Women in Finance Charter and publishing targets for increasing the number of senior women in senior management to achieve genuine gender balance.
Reflecting on #BalanceforBetter
I hope that you will have an opportunity on 8 March to reflect on what #BalanceforBetter means for you, and how you can be a positive part of making #BalanceforBetter work for business.