The World Economic Forum, an elite gathering of 2,500 of the world’s corporate, political, entrepreneurial and media leaders, threw the gender imbalace into stark relief. Blue-suited, red-tie-wearing men outnumberd women five to one. The ratio only got worse when it was a room full of CEOs.
Now a group of those men, the CEOs from 10 companies — AccorHotels, Barclays,Koc Holding, McKinsey, PwC, Schneider Electric, Tupperware, Twitter, Unilever and Vodafone — saw it as a business problem they want to solve.
The CEOs committed to achieving gender parity by 2020, joining HeForShe, a solidarity movement led by United Nations Women — the U.N.’s entity for empowering women — to advocate for gender equality in the workplace. The 10 companies agreed to make public the overall number of women at their companies, the gender ratio of new hires, the number of women in senior management and how many women serve on the board.
“I don’t think we should sit in boardrooms without women,” says Jurg Zeltner, CEO ofUBS Wealth Management.
Devin Wenig, of eBay, sees such diversity as a business imperative. One half of eBay’s 170 million active customers are women, he said.
“We could employ all guys in Silicon Valley, but that’s not going to help us understand our customer,” Wenig said.
Women aren’t making it to the boardrooms because they’re hitting barriers on the way up, says Pat Milligan, global leader of When Women Thrive, Mercer’s global research organization on female participation in the work force.
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