Gender equality: Nine corporate executives call for action
EXCLUSIVE: In a tribune, nine female and male leaders commit to strengthening the development of gender diversity in their companies rather than sacrifice it due to the economic consequences of the health crisis. They call on companies of all sizes to do the same.
Here is their tribune: « We, executives whose organizations have been affected, sometimes significantly, by the crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, we who had been working for several years to accelerate the progress of gender balance, for greater performance, equality and social responsibility, ask our colleagues and friends, leaders of organizations of all sizes and leaders of employers’ organizations to ensure that the efforts and work, budgets and initiatives devoted to the advancement of gender balance are maintained or increased and not sacrificed to the crisis.
Confinement has highlighted and reinforced gender inequalities.
Fellow executives who will be meeting us this week at the Medef’s Renaissance des Entreprises de France (REF) gathering, we call on you to join us in this strong commitment for a quicker progression of gender balance in our organizations! Maintaining or strengthening efforts and budgets in favor of gender balance, as well as efforts in favor of a work-life balance for our employees, are essential to ensure a fair return to the workplace for women and to increase the sustainable performance of our organizations and of our country.
Confinement has highlighted and reinforced gender inequalities:
- This health crisis has highlighted the precariousness and hardship of certain jobs, which are undervalued and not sufficiently recognized for their commitment (such as cashiers, care assistants, nurses or home care workers), with a collective awareness of the need to recognize and remunerate more fairly these positions, of which 80% are held by women;
- Violence against women has increased by 30% domestically;
- Women, more often than men, have seen an increase not only in their workload, but also in their « mental and emotional burden », due to a lack of balance in the division of household responsibilities;
- Public debates surrounding the crisis have often used a semantic field borrowed from a « virile » domain. At the same time, in the media, most comments and analyses were devolved to men. According to studies by the INA and the CSA, women appeared in minority in television news.
Today, this set of observations shows our strong desire not to allow women’s careers, their symbolic and real place, their living and working conditions to regress once again, and therefore our desire for an inclusive recovery driven by a power shared equally between men and women.
Only a strong conviction will bring the cultural change that our economies need to build a more equal society.
This requires attention, willpower, and discipline. As a result, and as part of an approach undertaken with the Gender Balance Observatory*, each one of us is committed to comply with an obligation of means and to put in place concrete measures today to strengthen actions in our organizations, to enable women to benefit from the same opportunities as men for career advancement and access to management positions. For some, this will involve appointing managers responsible for this change, reporting to the management team; for others, it will involve implementing « mandatory » training to counter unconscious bias; and for others still, it will involve setting ambitious individual gender balance objectives. We are inspired by the « 6 effective measures to accelerate gender balance in the workplace » of the Gender Balance Observatory:
- Demonstrate the strong commitment of CEOs;
- Make a lasting change in culture, towards a culture of inclusion;
- Take into account the difference between female and male career cycles;
- Set precise and ambitious individual Gender Balance goals;
- Share Gender Balance indicators dashboard;
- Generalize the use of inclusive language.
We invite our fellow executives to commit themselves in the same way to this obligation of means, conscious that only a strong conviction, credible through strong actions, will be able to bring about the cultural change that our economies and companies need to build a more equitable, fairer, more responsible and therefore more prosperous society, where the human being is placed at the center and where inclusion and gender balance are perceived as indispensable conditions for progress.
* The Gender Balance Observatory (for sustainable progress in gender balance) is a think and do tank sponsored by Michel Landel and co-directed by Caroline de La Marnierre and Marie-Christine Mahéas, and is composed of 15 recognized experts on the subject of gender balance and 8 companies sharing their ideas and experiences. The Observatory focuses on defining and disseminating the most effective methods to accelerate the progress of gender balance in organizations. Part of its work can be found in the green paper « 6 effective measures to accelerate gender balance in the workplace« .
List of signatories:
- Sophie Boissard, CEO of Korian
- Méka Brunel, CEO of Gecina
- Julien Carmona, Deputy CEO
- Benoît Coquart, CEO of Legrand
- Jean-Pierre Farandou, CEO and Chairman of SNCF
- Gérald Karsenti, Chairman France of SAP
- Hervé Hélias, CEO and Chairman of Mazars
- Michel Landel, sponsor of the Gender Balance Observatory and Independent Adlministrator
- Anna Notarianni, Chairwoman France of Sodexo