Chime for change

None of us can move forward if half of us are held back.

A statement echoed by the high-profile hosts of Chime for Change at Twickenham Stadium (London) on 1 June 2013. Performing to a packed stadium of 55,000, this star-studded charity event raised over $4m, in aid of building awareness for girls’ and women’s empowerment.

Chime for Change is a global movement founded by Gucci and personally endorsed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Singer), Frida Giannini (Creative Director – Gucci) and Salma Hayek (Actress); their message is clear, they fight for greater equality and greater opportunities for girls and women everywhere.

The campaign focuses on three key areas which will lay the foundations for greater equality; education, health and justice, and targets some of the poorest countries in the world, where inequality is prevalent.

As I watched 55,000 men and women get behind this cause, it made me think about the levels of inequality still rife in the developed world. Women hold just 21% of seats in national parliaments globally and more shockingly, only 12% of board positions in the FTSE 100.

Ask yourself this simple question: Is the company you work for doing enough to give opportunities to experienced and qualified women to fill its most senior positions?

Positive discrimination is not the solution. Despite this, an employer can look at its recruitment and retention strategy to ensure it is doing everything it can to equalise opportunities.

Consider the following four principles to determine whether you have been proactive in addressing this issue:

  1. Is the Board of Directors representative of the gender balance both within the company and of its customers?
  2. Is the company doing enough to develop and train its talented women?
  3. Is there more the company could do to reach out to more female applicants for senior positions?
  4. Does the company account for the modern reality of young working families and offer opportunities for women and men to balance their work and personal commitments?

Studies have proven that having more women in the boardroom positively changes the dynamics in a way that leads to better governance and better financial performance.

Change must be led by the individuals who have the power to implement it. If you are struggling to demonstrate that your company has done enough, it’s probably because there is more that can be done and now is the time to act.

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