It’s that time of the year again. The door on 2015 is rapidly closing. Let’s do a quick wrap-up of the business year that was and talk about the “good”, the “stubbornly stagnant”, and the “needs improvement”, shall we?
It’s hard to deny the excitement of watching the tech world’s race to the top to see which company could offer new parents the most generous parental leave. (Netflix, for the win!) August saw a flurry of freshly updated, expanded family leave policies that had the Internet buzzing for a hot minute. While offering generous parental leave is fantastic, employees need to know that they can actually take advantage of that leave lest it be nothing more than an attractive, hollow perk. So, kudos to Toms Shoes’ Founder, Blake Mycoskie, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for personally taking advantage of long stretches of parental leave yourselves and sending clear signals to your employees that you aren’t just paying lip service to the idea. Here’s hoping your employees will do the same and come back stronger, happier, and ready to work hard for your companies.
The Stubbornly Stagnant
Equal pay for equal work – such a simple concept. Yet here we sit at the end of 2015 with a gender wage gap that’s been holding at a similar rate for quite a while now. WE’ve written about it here and here, and used our newsletter to highlight companies (SalesForce) and campaigns (United Nation’s HeForShe) committed to balancing the scales on equal pay for equal work. Still, this remains a work in progress. I’m convinced that getting more women into leadership positions is key to moving the needle on this one.
Speaking of women in leadership, WE posted this fall about the tech world’s persistent “lady problem”. There are too few women in tech, especially at the top, though the tech sector isn’t alone in this. In early 2015, Grant Thornton released its International Business Report, summarizing data on the percentage of women in senior management roles worldwide. It’s fairly dismal. We are stuck at 24% globally.
Clearly, there’s work to do here. Increasing the number of women in leadership roles is the goal at WE. The value of mentoring women and developing their leadership potential is tangible and not to be underestimated. WE intend to play a role in increasing to at least 30% the percentage of women in senior management positions globally by 2025. It’s doable, of that I am sure.
So, here are a couple of questions I pose to you for 2016: will we see an actual increase in the number of women in senior level positions? Are you optimistic when you open that new calendar and see a fresh page of pure potential staring up at you just waiting to see what mark smart business women will leave on it?