Men are key in order to close gender gap in jobs
THE gender gap in boardrooms came under the spotlight at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in DavosKlosters in Switzerland.
Some delegates suggested yesterday that increasing the number of women in the boardroom and other parts of companies could be achieved through gender quotas and programmes.
In a WEF statement, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said gender inequality was not conducive to good and inclusive economic growth.
“In the last few years, progress has slowed down,” Lagarde said, adding that gender quotas were in place at the IMF.
According to the forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, the slowdown was partly due to chronic imbalances in salaries and labour force participation.
Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, vice-president and minister of foreign affairs of Panama, said women should have the opportunity to be in positions based on merit and not quotas, but admitted that it may take quotas to change the situation.
“I don’t think it will happen unless there are quotas,” De Alvarado said.
Robert E Moritz, global chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International and a strong advocate of gender equality in the workplace, stressed that disruptive leadership was needed to improve diversity in the boardroom. However, he recommended that gender programmes within companies were the way to go as opposed to quotas.
“If males are not in the conversation, you will miss it (reducing the gender gap),” Moritz said.
Cynthia Castro, vice-president of Reinventing Business for All, Costa Rica, underlined the importance of addressing gender bias in the recruitment process, paternity leave and equal parenting, and educating consumers.
“Gender inequality affects men because they think it is an issue about women,” she said. – ANA