Melanne Verveer the US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues speaks about Gender Equality being not just the ‘right choice, but the smart choice’ to grow our economies. She talks about research that has shown where the gap between male and female equality has been closed, those countries are far more economically prosperous and see an ‘enhancement to economic action’.
She further points out that studies have shown that women invest their income in far greater numbers into education, in activities that benefits children and the community, and concludes that this can only benefit all society.
see the video here Gender Equality: A Good Investment
Posted on the Women’s Center on 3 November 2011.
As part of my Sociology degree I have commenced a year-long research project. The subject will be on “The effectiveness (or otherwise) of organisational gender diversity program’s on profit” to see if we can come up with some metrics and measurements for quantifying the value of a gender diverse workforce on bottom line profitability. Diversity programs are undertaken in many organizations in a bid to attract and keep senior women in leadership and although we know there are clear advantages, much of the information is empirical or intangible and difficult to measure under current business structures.
This is the first part of the study to test the theory and viability of further research into Gender Economics and Diversity Economics.
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MORE INFORMATION ON MY RESEARCH
- Description: Building frameworks and metrics for gender diversity programs to measure their impact on bottom line profitability. Expanding these metrics to measure the economic input of gender diversity programs.
The subject of my research project will be on the effectiveness of gender diversity programs within organisations in a bid to attract and keep senior women in leadership roles. The first part of the study is to test the theory and viability of further research into Gender Economics and Diversity Economics. Gender Economics recognises the ‘direct input’ of women to the economy by enabling leadership roles through diversity rather than the ‘indirect’ impact of women as consumers and supporters.
I will draw on existing research into the field of diversity management and test the theories using participants in focus group’s to draw on their experience and knowledge in the areas in both implementing diversity programs, and being a recipient of diversity programs.
Ideally, I am looking for a mix of men and women of different ages to form a group of six to ten people for the first focus group session. Over the coming year I intend to work with at least two organisations, one government and one corporate, who currently have a diversity program in place. I aim to research and evaluate these programs to see what metrics they have put in place to measure the success of their programs. Then I would like to tie the outcomes to economic health as an argument for the economic advantages of Gender and Diversity Economics.
Gender Economics is an emerging field of study, with the 2012 international conference now under way in Spain. Gender Economics encourages organisations, and indeed countries to use all the resources available to them across both gender and diversity to improve economies, improve profitability and market share.
Many organisations in Australia recognise the positive and enriching qualities of ‘diversity’ and many of these organisations are also at the forefront of the gender equality issue. Westpac Bank has already done a lot of work around gender equality and diversity and continues to promote initiatives that increase leadership opportunities for women in senior management. However, there are other organisations that pay ‘lip service’ to diversity, flexibility and gender equality, yet these same organisations still qualify as a “Women’s Employer of Choice”.
True diversity and gender equality doesn’t just fit into the normalised view of a ‘gender stereotype’ for female friendly workplaces, like nursing stations and flexible working hours. Whilst these facilities are great regardless of gender, it is still in senior management that we see discrimination and “Boys Club” practices at work. If we changed the structure of our workplaces as well as the way that they run many would attract and keep more senior women. For example, developing alternative value measurements for success, true workplace audits that dig deep to name “Boys Club” practices and move away from what we are socially conditioned to believe women want in the workplace. In my experience the single most destructive element that prevents women remaining in and moving into leadership roles is the “Boys Club” element and the way both women and men support it. How can an organisation that purports to be a “Women’s Employer of Choice”, be serious when all its Board members are male? By which standard is the organisation developing its criteria to promote women? How can a patriarchal, primarily white male, Anglo-Saxon board structure really identify the needs and aspirations of the diverse groups of people in their organisation?
Gender Economics aims to develop these new metrics for success. Metrics that make sure that women and minorities have a direct impact on the economy and not an indirect impact on the economy via consumerism and social dependency. Not only would your organisation benefit by tapping into more resources, and advancing more women into leadership roles, I believe that Gender Economics will deliver greater access to a diverse customer base by understanding alternative measures of ‘value’ against revenue.
Women suffer more than most when government cuts budgets. The impact is greater on women, as there are larger numbers of women who are unpaid carers, or work in casual lower paid work. They are hardest hit by cuts to transport and support services when they occur. In reality, most will work longer hours to make up the deficit in one way or another. Whether that be overtime to increase wages or ferrying those in their care to support services using their own private vehicles instead of public transport.
Sadly, the real impact of this extra burden won’t be measured as much of it will be done outside working hours by unpaid carers, or as extra effort over and above paid working time.
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