It’s 2018 and women are still swimming against the tide of deeply ingrained, yet hard to detect, biases. New Zealand’s top 50 public listed companies’ CEOs include four men called John but just one woman. Men’s median earnings are 9.4% higher than women’s, with the gap reducing at a glacial pace. The Ministry of Women reports that 80% of this gap is due to a combination of conscious and unconscious bias and differences in men’s and women’s choices and behaviours.
Why should we care?
At Global Women our vision is a business world that reflects New Zealand’s diversity. That includes achieving a higher number of women in senior roles. Why? Because the evidence shows again and again that the more diverse and inclusive a company is, the better it performs. Bottom line: diversity pays dividends.
The business case for change
Diversity enables businesses to tap into a wider range of perspectives, experiences, and expertise. That can make teams more creative, more innovative, better at problem solving, and better able to relate to their customer base. In addition to a marked improvement in financial performance, companies committed to inclusive cultures see improvements in recruiting and retaining talent too. Diversity offers companies a significant competitive advantage.
Why share the case for diversity?
Research shows that when employees and leaders understand the business incentive for diversity, they are more likely to feel personally committed to making a change. So it’s not enough for a leader to be personally committed to diversity, or even to include diversity in KPIs. Change will only happen when people understand the business benefits. Remember, too, that diversity probably isn’t a major concern for most of your workforce, so use the case for change to push it up the priority list.