CEO CHAMPIONS RECOMMEND PUBLIC SECTOR TAKE ACTION ON GENDER EQUALITY AT WOMEN’S FORUM CANADA
Toronto, 19 June 2018 – More than 50 CEOs from companies across the G7 countries met to discuss how the private and public sectors can collaborate to support gender equality ahead of the G7 Summit on 10 June in Quebec, Canada.
Together with McKinsey Canada, knowledge partner of CEO Champions, and YPO Canada, the CEOs convened within the context of Women’s Forum Canada to review the impact of both regulations and voluntary corporate commitments on gender equality in the G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Though the G7 have some of the highest gender equality scores, according to McKinsey, wide parity gaps remain in sections of the economy, notably wage gaps, leadership, unpaid care work, legal protection and political representation.
The workshop aimed to drive progress in women’s advancement and develop the future of diversity by engaging corporate leadership to examine how businesses can close the gender gap. The McKinsey research showed that corporate culture has a large influence on women’s confidence of success in the workplace, meaning that changes in leadership styles, transparency around gender diversity and approaches to flexible work can positively impact women in the workplace.
The workshop also aimed to influence the G7 Summit through a set of recommendations on gender policies. These recommendations were included in the Women’s Forum G7 Manifesto, which provided women leaders’ perspectives and suggestions for how to further women’s economic empowerment in G7 countries and beyond. Specific recommendations from the CEO Champions included:
- Mandating increased transparency on the gender gap, enabling the data to inform and drive change;
- Seeking out gender diversity as a criterion for public procurement or private investment; and
- Aligning best practices more closely across G7 countries.
The CEO Champions Plenary during Women’s Forum Canada relayed some of the broader points of discussion during the workshop, focusing on three aspects of gender equality policy that participants felt had the most potential to create change: transparency, governance and HR policies. Beatrix Dart, Co- Chair CGGGA, Executive Director Rotman’s Initiative for Women in Business, moderated the panel in conversation with Frank Kollmar, CEO, L’Oréal Canada, Andrew Pickersgill, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Co., Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner, Member of the Directoire, Publicis Groupe and Helene von Reis, CEO, IKEA Japan.
“We have to see transparency as a driver of change and use it that way,” said Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner, pointing to the UK corporate reporting mandate on gender pay gap as an example of effective policy. Reinforcing that point, Frank Kollmar said that setting and reporting on diversity targets was one of the most effective drivers of inclusion at L’Oreal Canada, not just between genders but for ethnic and racial diversity as well.
But best practice isn’t always public-sector led, particularly in cultures that are more conservative on gender issues. Helene Von Reis remarked that IKEA Japan has achieved equal representation in its workforce by recruiting women to roles that enable them to leave early to care for families and by attaching childcare centers to retail stores.
Upcoming Women’s Forum Meetings: Singapore, 12-14 September 2018 and Paris, 14-16 November 2018.