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5 Leaders Who Championed Gender Equality In Their Organizations In 2019

Gender Equality and Diversity has been a buzzword for a few years now, at least when it comes to a company aligning its Public Communications with the latest sociological trend. In a survey of 1,000 respondents, Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers overall look at workforce diversity when evaluating an offer. Numerous studies have linked increased productivity with the same phenomenon.

Gender Equality and Diversity has been a buzzword for a few years now, at least when it comes to a company aligning its Public Communications with the latest sociological trend. In a survey of 1,000 respondents, Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers overall look at workforce diversity when evaluating an offer. Numerous studies have linked increased productivity with the same phenomenon. 

While gender diversity seems an obvious way to go for all the companies, the implementation of it is a complex issue. From addressing the problem of “Equality of outcome vs equality of opportunity” to tackling one of the founding principles of capitalism: meritocracy; implementation of gender diversity is hard.

However, the leaders listed below went out of their way to not only champion gender diversity but to implement it in the right way in 2019.

Beth Whited

Executive Vice President and CHRO, Union Pacific Railroad

Union Pacific has constantly been named as the top gender diversity destination and one of the best employers, all because of leaders like Beth. Seeing a decline in engagement for female employees in 2018, she organized several diverse female employee focus groups. The result of these sessions was enhanced maternity benefits and also the introduction of paternity benefits. Additionally, Beth partnered with the company’s women’s ERG to better understand how the company could support the work-life integration needs of women in operating roles.

If the rail industry, which is thought to be a male-dominated domain can make such efforts, most companies can take this example. 

Sara Wechter

Global Head of Human Resources, Citi

In June 2019, Bloomberg revealed that men earn 29% more than women in the Citigroup. The numbers narrow down when adjusted to the number of hours worked and considering the job roles, however, the statistic is still a matter of concern, especially for the Global Head of Human Resources. Under Sara’s leadership, there is tremendous momentum behind efforts to increase diversity across the firm with a rigorous focus on outcomes. Realizing the business imperative of diversity, Sara has embedded these diversity goals alongside their business goals and is fostering an inclusive workplace environment for employees. 

Tony Colon

Head of CX Product Development, Cisco

Product development has traditionally been a male-dominated domain but Tony Colon wants to change that, at least for Cisco. To start with, he promoted diverse interview panels with equal gender representation in all panels. He also worked with Talent Acquisition to push for equal gender representation of female candidates in all candidate slates, regardless of market availability and type of role, including data scientists, software engineers, and engineering leaders were female candidates are far fewer.

Jennifer Abman Scott

Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Society of Women Engineers

While more women than men are graduating with four-year degrees, women are significantly underrepresented in the engineering industry, and more likely to leave due to cultural influences. SWE partnered with career re-entry firm iRelaunch to implement a program that would target a hidden talent pool – women with technical degrees on career breaks – and engage them with internships as a vehicle for re-entry. The Task Force meets the needs of women wanting to return to work after a career break while also addressing the challenges encountered by employers in attaining a diverse workforce at all levels of their organizations. Jennifer has ensured that SWE utilizes its brand, global presence, and reach to find qualified talent and broaden the awareness of these programs to further the work of the Task Force. 

Vijay Anand

SVP Global Engineering, Intuit

Vijay is the Executive Sponsor of the Tech Women Intuit initiative which is a program created to attract, retain and advance women in technology roles at Intuit. His response to solving the diversity-in-tech problem in India was so effective that it changed the course of workplace culture across all of Intuit’s global sites, including adding tremendous support for women in tech at its headquarters in Mountain View. Vijay’s style of empathetic management resulted in several highly impactful programs that were implemented in India, including Women in Tech Ambassadors and the enhancement of benefits related to motherhood, caregiving, and flexible work options.

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