Women’s career progression continues to be headline news. From the gender pay gap to #MeToo, Time’s Up and the ongoing under-representation of women in executive roles, it’s clear that women need a larger role at the top.
Despite the emphasis on the lack of women at board level, the gender pay gap and the need for greater diversity in management, the recent kickback about female talent development has been fueled by a fear of being seen to be favouring women or discriminating against men by taking steps to increase the ratio.
A report from Talking Talent says that the time for raising awareness is gone. Awareness hasn’t moved the needle. It’s time to take meaningful action.
Not about excluding men
However, it is really important to remember that this is not about excluding men, it’s about providing a platform that facilitates creating content and coaching that is tailored for women. In recognition that women often have a very different experience of their careers by comparison to their male colleagues. And there’s a difference. This isn’t positive discrimination. You’re not hiring a woman instead of a man, you’re nurturing your talent pipeline and ensuring you get the best from every person in your organisation
Not women only
Women-only shouldn’t mean only women. The crucial message is that women-centric is not the same as women only. This is very different to dividing genders, segregating or diminishing. Positive female-focused programmes absolutely must integrate managers and leaders of all genders, providing wrap-around inclusion and awareness sessions that inform and engage the relevant stakeholders. There’s nothing more powerful than men in senior positions promoting programmes for
women and understanding the foundations of female talent and why the organisation needs to protect the pipeline in the first place.
Return on Investment
Females improve financial results. It has been long proven that diverse leadership delivers better financial results. According to McKinsey & Co organisations in the top quartile for executive team gender diversity are reportedly 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.*
Part of the ROI for these female-centric leadership programmes is that you are actively recognising a systemic problem, a shared set of experiences and challenges, for which you are designing a solution to address.