CEOs crusade for gender balance
Deauville, France hosted the annual Women's Forum in October that emphasized the pivotal role of men in gender balancing companies. The Forum underlined the movement towards a greater understanding of the sexes' interdependence when it comes to making progress. In Deauville, a balanced group of male and female industry leaders came up with six measures aiming to promote gender balance this coming year.
- Twenty-three industry leaders, 10 women and 13 men, made a commitment to enact six measures aimed at improving the gender balance of their companies over the course of the year.
- The measures included, but were not limited to, pledges committing to making the advancement of women a top strategic priority at the chief executive level, to requiring that female applicants be present in every recruitment pool and to delivering specific targets for an increased female representation at all levels of their companies.
“They had better get it done”
Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission
- The increased male presence at the forum is indicative of the growing awareness that the sexes are interdependent.
- James Turley, global head of Ernst & Young, declared that it “is strategically as important to our businesses as revenue growth or product innovation […] We need women if we want to remain competitive.”
- Women on the other hand, “need men to be their ambassadors” as Melanne Verveer, the U.S ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues pointed out.
- Men play a pivotal role in the advancement of women.
“It’s a man’s world, and companies have been shaped by men.”
Michel Landel, CEO of Sodexo
- Companies like Areva and Landel’s Sodexo have designated men as their diversity officers so as to better convey the importance of promoting women to male executives.
- Though there is a general consensus that concerted action is required, divisions appear around what methods should be employed, in particular about the pertinence of legislation.
- Viviane Reding expressed the need for companies to act quickly in promoting women if they wanted to avoid legislation.
- She declared that business had “one more chance” and that European quotas were possible as soon as late 2011.
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