By collaborating, supporting and mentoring we can make a difference and start to address a much needed balance at the top. I’m a firm believer that more diversity will bring happier and healthier workplaces which In turn will generate healthier bottom lines.
A great example of this is in FMCG where our first female retail CEO,Jo Whitfield,with a group of talented women have formed the Grocery girls…
Why have they done this? In their words “2018 marks the centenary of British women being granted the right to vote. We’ve made some great progress over the last 100 years. Whilst it is widely recognised that women across the world still have varying access to opportunities, we rarely notice these differences when they’re closer to home. Within our Grocery Industry there are some of those discrepancies with only 8% of Senior Leadership positions being held by women despite women driving 85% of consumer purchasing decisions within the UK.
We know that having more women in the boardroom drives success. Research shows that companies with gender-balanced teams have higher ROI than those that don’t. Higher representation brings diversity of thought, action and drives discussions further to achieve higher commercial returns. Ultimately, if women make up a significant proportion of your businesses customer base, it’s of great value to represent them within your leadership team?
We see real value in encouraging change within our industry and Grocery Girls is our way of supporting women to achieve their career aspirations. Our network gives talented women the opportunity to come together, share experiences and develop the necessary skills to advance their careers. We know that bringing women together can only bring positive outcomes and ultimately grow all of our businesses.”
As if to back this up I was at a recent conference of a major UK retail company , and of the senior leaders presenting ( around 16?) There were just 2 women. This is a company who’s dominant shopper is female. It was very much the old boys presenting, then a fashion show of size 6 models, which most definitely did not represent the profile of a UK lady.
Companies need more ‘feeling’ at board level. It is not a weakness but a sign of strength, leadership, empathy and compassion that will filter down. As individuals we are chipping away at this unconscious bias as a Collaborative we can we a great big sledge hammer knocking down walls and paving the way for a more balanced world