Gen­der quo­tas are a topic of dis­cus­sion at the meet­ing

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS -

THE GEN­DER gap in board­rooms came un­der the spot­light yes­ter­day at the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum’s (WEF) an­nual meet­ing in Davos-Klosters in Switzer­land.

Some del­e­gates have sug­gested 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, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF), Chris­tine La­garde, said gen­der in­equal­ity was not con­ducive to good inclusive eco­nomic growth.

“In the last few years, progress has slowed down,” La­garde said, adding 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 she ad­mit­ted 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, the 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, Moritz rec­om­mended gen­der pro­grammes within a com­pany were the right way to go as op­posed to quo­tas.

“If males are not in the con­ver­sa­tion, you will miss it (re­duc­ing the gen­der gap),” Moritz con­cluded.

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,” Cas­tro said.

“You can’t be gen­der-blind in 2017; you have to be gen­der­s­mart.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.