As Drive enters its third year, we can look back and celebrate several gender diversity landmarks at Enterprise. Usually, you see Khaled or in the past Mike taking this editorial spot, but this month we are going to break with tradition.
We welcome Chrissy Taylor as our second female Chief Operating Officer, a move that means we are one of the few companies in the world to have a woman as CEO and COO.
Our activity for International Women’s Day saw over 200 employees posting a pledge for parity, where many of our level 3 and 4 employees backed our campaign to ensure men and women are treated alike.
For the 11th time, we have made it to the Times Top 50 employers for women, a closely scrutinised benchmark that means we are good at providing opportunities for both men and women alike.
The Enterprising Women board at UK99 is moving from strength to strength, creating initiatives that spread the diversity message across our company, our suppliers and our customers.
I am delighted that seven women and one man have now joined the Drive editorial board to help us make this magazine and the @Drive_Diversity Twitter feed a source of inspiration and motivation for gender diversity.
Yet….we need to do more. My personal benchmark is our area managers. Even though we have doubled the number of women area managers in the past year, we are still some way off parity.
In fact we’re reaching Pareto’s Law – the rule of 80:20. Out of 71 area managers, only 13 are women – or 18 per cent. So we are reaching the point where one in five area managers is a woman: 80 per cent men to 20 per cent women.
The problem with Pareto’s Law is that it is a tough statistical rule to break. It is where everything tends to default unless everyone puts in a huge amount of effort to make it different.
To break it, we’re going to have to do some things differently.
We talk a lot about encouraging more women to go for promotion, and the female traits that can often make women hold back.
But it’s not just about changing female behaviour. It’s about evolving our business culture, and creating the leadership and inclusion that makes it easier for women to see that they can be successful in those roles.
Which is why I’m here today instead of Khaled. Change is good. As Khaled says, ‘You make the difference. You are a role model’. We all need to demonstrate this and sometimes consider changing our behaviours. The next time you face a decision, choose something different. If you always choose work over the personal commitment because that’s what you think you ought to do: don’t. Mentor or provide coaching to someone different from you. That’s leadership too; the kind of leadership that is essential to creating gender parity in the workplace for both men and women.