Workplace & Culture

How can money close the workplace gender gap?

Show Notes

In 2020, there were fewer female Chairs of the board than male Chairs called John in the S&P 500 companies.

In such a scenario, it is clear that the workplace gender gap issue is still serious and widespread.

The slow pace of change towards gender parity in the corporate world is what motivated Diana van Maasdijk to take a radical approach. In 2015, Diana had a "eureka" moment when she realized the potential of financial data for creating more equality and diversity in the workplace. Essentially, she decided to use money as a tool to prompt companies to be more proactive in closing the workplace gender gap.

The result is Equileap, the leading provider of data on workplace gender equality – the very company that reported the above figures on gender disparity in the S&P 500's that you just read about.

A feminist-made finance expert, Diana has been working to advance women's rights for over 25 years, both in the non-profit and in the private sectors.

In this episode of the FutureReady podcast, she chats to host Arne Kötting about the current state of gender diversity in the corporate world. She also shares valuable pieces of knowledge and practical wisdom on how to change workplace culture, getting gender equality off the page and into life.

02:20 - Diana introduces herself and talks about how her upbringing in Ecuador led to a better understanding of the complex relationship between poverty and gender inequality

3:30 - About the creation of Equileap and the use of gender-lens investing in response to workplace gender inequality

6:40 -  On Diana's frustration with the slow pace of change in relation to gender inequality throughout the twenty years of her career, and on how she turned such disencouragement into inspiration

9:03 - On the scepticism Diana first encountered when pitching gender-lens investing initiatives at the bank she used to work for

12:10 - About playing the corporate game and using investment finance to push for gender equality in the workplace

14:30 - How Equileap encourages companies to consider workplace equality as a promising area of interest for investors and thus, to be more transparent about their gender data

17:27 - How gender-balanced companies financially outperform non-balanced competitors in the long-run

20:35 - On companies experiencing a loss of talent with women leaving due to a leaky pipeline, despite men and women entering the workforce at the same level

22:08 - Why internal policies, like parental leave and flexibility, play an essential role in combating systemic gender inequality

25:51 - On the importance of the support of CEOs in bringing about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)  inside companies

26:39 - How has COVID-19 impacted gender equality in the workplace

29:01 - How presence in the office can directly affect one’s potential growth within a company

30:21 - The three Ts of workplace gender equality: being transparent, setting targets, and looking for talent in non-traditional ways

33:25 - How human nature attracts us to people like us, and what strategies leaders can use to mitigate their unconscious biases

35:12 - On successful examples of gender equality transformations within companies

37:02 - How corporate comms can help tackle gender imbalances by acknowledging diverse experiences and paying particular attention to those who fall into identity intersections

39:37 - How HR departments can break patterns of discrimination in hiring and promoting employees by setting and hitting targets to combat these issues

40:42 - Why do government quotas work in effectively changing workplace cultures towards bridging the gender gap?

43:26 - How does gendered language impact hiring and employee engagement in broader company culture? How does it affect notions of what and who is considered "professional"?

45:48 - On the importance of companies creating inclusive workplaces by utilizing inclusive language for their open positions

Equileap publishes annual global Gender Equality Reports and Rankings, as well as regional reports – like their most recent June publication "Gender Equality in Asia-Pacific". You can find these reports here. If you're curious to learn more about Diana's work at Equileap in general, check out their website here.

FutureReady is produced by COSYN, a global communications and change agency on a mission to shape more healthy and thriving businesses. Find out more at www.wearecosyn.com.

If you like what you’re hearing, please leave us a review. Or forward this show to someone who you think will love it.

This episode is presented by Arne Kötting, and was produced by Ana Luiza Loio and Dhriti Kamath. FutureReady music theme "Botanics" by Elizabells, and sound editing by Carsten Steffens.