By Andrea Dunlop
, CEO Merchant Acquiring Europe at Paysafe, and EPA Advisory Board Chair
In 2018, we celebrated 100 years in the UK since women were allowed to vote, but it wasn’t for all as it did come with conditions that you needed to be over 30, either an owner of a property or have a university education. The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today globally, International Women’s Days are supported almost everywhere and the struggle for equality is everyone's.
Despite government support and high-profile equality campaigns, it’s still a major disappointment that we are still seeing inequality in pay and promotion, especially when we know that there is good evidence that shows that companies in the top quartile for gender racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians, not to mention stronger corporate governance.
But even more importantly a diverse leadership and diverse workforce better serves a diverse customer base.
After all, no one has the monopoly on great ideas. It’s also broadly acknowledged that a diverse workforce helps companies develop products and services that meet needs of the wider society, not just the few.
Diversity is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. In my view this should be one of the top strategic initiatives for companies. The current trends may not be encouraging enough that we are on track. And so, we need a greater commitment from CEOs and executives, combined with a willingness to stay ahead of the course to get us closer to our goal of a truly diverse work place. Without this commitment from the top the slow pace of change will continue.
Businesses and business leaders need to ensure that they are inspiring the younger generation and up and coming talent in their organisations. That’s why it’s so important to see role models, but more importantly role models in their own likeness, representing all aspects of a diverse workforce is key.
Making women more visible internally and externally, not only helps companies develop future leaders, but also will help a company attract more female talent. The same no doubt holds for other groups too.
Companies that make the most progress are those willing to hold challenging conversations about diversity issues among the executive team and being truly honest and transparent on where they are as a company on this journey.
The world of business is a better place when women and men representing our diverse society are able to lead equally and contribute the best that they can.
So join the collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world. International Women's Day is a global event celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.