Women in Business How Will You Inspire?
I picked up a copy of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women last week and was delighted to see features on two of our Award winners Christine Hodgson (pictured), Executive Chairman, Capgemini UK PLC, 2011 Woman of the Year winner at the everywoman in Technology Awards and Jane Burkitt Supply Chain Director, 2010 Team of the Year Award winner at the MAN everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards.
This report is a great initiative. With fewer women at the top of organisations than men and a pay gap of 21.2 percent between men and women in the UK (I read in the Evening Standard that London is one of the worst cities - almost 23 per cent) we need as much activity as possible to highlight the situation, showcase the companies that are driving change and demonstrate the value of women in business.
There are many benefits to having a diverse and balanced workforce - improved creativity, productivity and profitability are just a few. But in addition, one area that’s not often highlighted is competitive advantage. Christine mentioned that potential clients ask questions about diversity as they want to get a sense of Capgemini’s culture so they can see how it will fit with their organisation and serve their customers. In my view, the spotlight is shining brightly on diversity and I think it’s likely this will become the norm. Why wouldn’t it be when women are cited as the next global emerging market and they make the majority of purchasing decisions? By 2014, the World Bank estimates that the global income of women will grow by more than $5 trillion – so it makes sense not to alienate them. Another advantage is many women look to work for organisations that will actively support their development, which means those companies are likely to have the pick of the bunch when it comes to female talent.
It is great to see so many companies working to address the balance - and at everywoman we work with many organisations that didn't get a mention in the report so these are exciting times as alot is happening. But, we also need to bear in mind that if we’re going to drive this change, girls and young women need to be aware of the opportunities available and believe they deserve, and can achieve the positions they aspire to be in. As Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook says in a TED video, women need to take their place at the table. There are many successful women with the confidence to forge successful careers but through our experience at everywoman we know that a lack of confidence is a key factor that holds many women back from achieving what they are capable of. We also know that showcasing successful female role models, like Christine and Jane, goes a long way to inspiring more women to achieve their aspirations. So I urge all women whatever level you’re at to take time think about how you can pass on a little inspiration.
Take a look at our Navigator, a practical guide to business successes, jam-packed with advice from successful women in business.