3 vital steps to a new gender equality playbook

gender equality 2019_

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Carolyn Tastad, Group President, North America, Procter & Gamble & Deanna Bass, Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Procter & Gamble


We launched the “Women at Work: Myth vs. Reality” installation on the promenade of Davos last January. For four days, leaders from around the world stepped into the installation and immersed themselves in the myths and realities of women at work. For many, it was a powerful moment as they recognized that myths they had accepted as truth were not based on reality, but were affecting reality every day.

The year 2018 represented the dichotomy of our time. Women’s voices were louder than ever on topics of health, wealth, harassment and the right to lead. Men, too, found new voices – from the extraordinary public- and private-sector leaders who stood in solidarity with women, to those who countered the #MeToo movement with chants of #HimToo and declarations that they will no longer mentor or meet with women.

In the midst of this public discord, progress for women has stalled and, in some cases, has gone backwards. There are fewer women in Fortune 500 CEO roles than a year ago. Women continue to be paid less than men – nearly half as much on a global basis – and men’s income is rising faster than women’s, according to the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report.

We must do better. We need a new playbook, one that moves beyond targets and quotas for women, sponsorship of women, and women’s development programs. While these remain critically important, they are insufficient. The new playbook also needs a clear focus on men: their work advancing women and their development as inclusive and equality minded leaders. We need transparent enrollment goals and targets for women and men. And we need policies and cultural interventions that support men as equal partners at home and in the workplace.

The fundamental change we’re proposing is to shift our focus from “fixing” women to fixing the behaviors and systems that perpetuate bias and the global gender gap.

So, what’s the new playbook? It focuses on three specific interventions that can lead to rapid progress: improving talent systems, driving equality-based policies and practices, and setting new expectations for what leadership is and how it’s developed.

First, we must rewire our talent systems. We must stop relying on hope and aspiration as a path to equal representation. Instead, we need to take a more disciplined and deliberate approach to talent management and we need to drive greater accountability for progress to the very top of our organizations.

More specifically, we need to set hiring and advancement targets for both women’s and men’s representation, instead of setting targets only for women and, in the US, for minorities. We must debunk the myth that there aren’t enough “qualified” women in the pipeline to get to equal representation. We need systems that force discussion about the ramifications of over-delivering on male representation while under-delivering on female representation. We must ensure that candidate slates at all levels are 50/50 from the start, including succession to CEO.

And, we need to be as good at planning for talent – three, five and 10 years down the road – as we are at assessing and selecting talent only when we have a job to fill. Longer-term planning ensures women have equal access to critical experiences and high-profile roles that demonstrate their leadership potential. It also ensures that managers can choose from the best talent when the pressure’s on to staff a role.

Second, we need stronger equality-based workplace policies. Most urgently, we must ensure pay and wealth equality for all women in all parts of the world. Whether through government regulation or corporate policy interventions, we must recognize that women’s economic health is good for countries, companies, communities and families.

We need holistic family care policies that include sufficient paid maternity and paid paternity leave and access to affordable child care. Paternity leave allows men to be a parent and equal partner at home. Leave policies must include an intentional focus on when and how we return people to work in a way that keeps careers intact and maintains talent in the workforce.

We need an uncompromising commitment to eradicating workplace harassment in all its forms. Harassment is an abuse of power and is a risk to an institution’s reputation and bottom line. A harassment-free workplace culture must start at the top. We need continued workforce education, zero tolerance policies and a commitment from the most senior leaders to stop the silencing of victims and address the behavior of the abuser. This requires intentional and courageous leadership, going beyond legal requirements and risk mitigation to ensure fair, safe and equitable work environments.

Third, we need to broaden the definition of leadership. We need to stop imposing dated, male-leadership stereotypes on women as well as men. These stereotypes are simply not relevant nor effective for the world we live in today – a world that favors highly collaborative leaders who thrive in fluid, distributed and non-hierarchical organizations. The workplace of the future will demand a different type of leadership.

In addition, we must continue to build inclusive cultures. One important way to do this is to encourage personal development, learning and dialogue that addresses bias, power and privilege. This builds tolerance, allows for direct and open feedback, and ultimately builds trusting relationships.

We’re working to activate the new playbook at P&G. For example, we’re setting hiring and advancement targets for men as well as women. We’re paying equally for equal work and are closing our own wealth gap by advancing women to the very top of the organization. We are improving our maternity and adoption leave policies and we have implemented paid paternity leave worldwide. We have more to do but remain deeply committed to advancing workplace equality for all our employees.

The new playbook we propose is intended to inspire action, not to prescribe it. There is no one-size-fits-all set of steps that every organization can take to achieve gender and intersectional equality. But there is a mindset that rejects myths about women, embraces reality, and drives critical interventions that can lead to progress this year, next year, and the year after – not centuries from now. If 2018 taught us anything, it’s that the work of gender equality is not women’s work. It is leaders’ work. And the men and women who lead today must do just that: lead.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

EU-Vietnam: Council adopts decisions to sign trade and investment agreements

Afghanistan: UN ‘unequivocally condemns’ attack in Kabul

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

More than half a million Rohingya in Bangladesh get ID cards for first time: UN refugee agency

MEPs back update of rail passenger rights across EU

This top-10 of business risks misses the biggest of them all: climate change

New UN bullying report calls for ‘safe, inclusive’ schools for all children

To build the workforce of the future, we need to revolutionize how we learn

These are the cities where people work the longest hours

ILO: Progress on gender equality at work remains inadequate

ECB to support only banks not Peoples

The remote doctor in the 21st century

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

EU budget 2021-2027: Commission calls on leaders to set out a roadmap towards an autumn agreement

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

Schools must look to the future when connecting students to the internet

Yemen: UN Envoy ‘guilty’ of optimistic hope that war is ‘nearing the end’

How public private partnerships must evolve to create social impact

The EU Commission openly repudiates the austere economic policies

How one traumatised child survived genocide and started a movement for mental health

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

‘Save Tuvalu; save the world’; UN chief echoes rallying cry from front lines of global climate emergency

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

Mediterranean migrant drownings should spur greater action by European countries, urge UN agencies

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

France sneaks into the Geneva US-Iran talks to claim its business share in Tehran

During the coronavirus pandemic, we must fight for LGBTQ rights more than ever

Here’s how China is going green

‘Critical’ window of opportunity closing fast in Iraq, Security Council hears

COVID-19: How leaders can create a new and better normal

Businesses are thriving, societies are not. Time for urgent change

EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

This is how New York plans to end its car culture

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Effective multilateralism the antidote to today’s ‘divisions’, Holy See tells UN Assembly

Building an Inclusive ICT Innovation Ecosystem

Stability in Europe has no chances because of Ukraine

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

Indonesia is buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit. And others in ASEAN aren’t far behind

Crime and drugs in West and Central Africa: Security Council highlights ‘new alarming trends’

UN warns of ‘deteriorating climate’ for human rights defenders in Guatemala

EU and India re-open talks over strategic partnership while prepare for a Free Trade Agreement

Your smartphone may know more about your mental health than you

‘Air bridge’ vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Poverty report reveals ‘vast inequalities’, measles compounds DRC Ebola woes, Guterres visits Mozambique, Bangladesh update, freedom of expression online

FROM THE FIELD: facing up to the extreme mental health pressures of conflict

Those who produce food are among world’s hungriest – UN rights expert

Economy on a steady rise in Latin America and Caribbean region ‘despite international turbulence’ – UN report

Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

Britain’s poet laureate has created a prize to highlight poetry about the climate crisis

Collective action now, the only way to meet global challenges, Guterres reaffirms in annual report

UN experts warn Assange arrest exposes him to risk of serious human rights violations

MEPs adopt new Fisheries Partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara

Guinea President Alpha Condé: “We must tackle the root causes of migration”

Migrants: ‘A powerful driver’ of economic growth, ‘dynamism and understanding’

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile Connect availability hits 2B

Commission reports on the risks of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU and outlines steps to address them

How to build a paradise for women. A lesson from Iceland

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s