Posted on 09 March 2020

Gender equality is not the issue, but the answer

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At Alter Domus, we’re committed to creating a balanced, equal and diverse workforce. We believe in highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women not only on International Women’s Day, but every day of the year.


According to Joanne Ferris, Chief Human Resources Officer, “We’re incredibly proud to have a balanced 50/50 split between men and women amongst our 2,400 people globally. But our efforts to instill equality should not and do not end there. We’re focused on recruiting more female talent at all levels in order to achieve greater balance across the board.”


This is only one aspect of diversity and equality to be promoted and preserved. Joanne explains, “It’s fortunate to think that gender equality is seen as an obvious pre-requisite for performance. Today, our company culture goes beyond that, fostering an environment where career development and work-life balance can be equally achieved, regardless of your gender, your age, your ethnicity or your family situation.”


Gender equality in context

Gender equality is not a women’s issue, but an economic one. Put simply, gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. In the EU, for example, forecasts show that improved gender equality would lead to an increase in EU GDP per capita by 6.1 to 9.6% by 2050.


Today, however, not a single country can claim to have achieved true gender equality. Sandra Legrand, Regional Executive Europe, explains, “Working to close this gender gap is the best way society can make progress on this path towards a more equal world. Building inclusive workplaces where women can thrive is crucial to business, the economy, and society at large.”


When discussing gender equality, the most frequently used metric is gender parity. Gender parity is a statistical measure that compares a particular indicator among women, like average income, to the same indicator among men. Gender parity is highly regarded as a benchmark of progress, and has a direct bearing on whether or not economies and societies thrive.


Western Europe currently has the world’s highest gender parity rating at 76.7%, and North American follows closely behind at 72.9%. South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa are at the lower end of the scale, with parity sitting between 60.5% and 66.1%. What these numbers tell is that there’s still much room for improvement around the globe.


Implications for businesses

Over the last five years, the number of women in senior positions has grown. An increasing number of companies are taking progressive action to improve their gender diversity at all career levels. The C-suite has seen the most significant improvement in diversity, where female representation has increased from 17% to 21%.


According to research from McKinsey & Company, 44% of companies now have three or more women in their C-suite, up from 29% of companies in 2015. Adding just one women can make a significant impact on a company, given the critical role top executives play in shaping the business and culture of their organization.


Jessica Mead, Group General Counsel, reveals “Three of the seven members of Alter Domus’ Group Executive Board are women, including Joanne Ferris, Sandra Legrand and myself. With females accounting for 43% of the GEB, it’s clear that Alter Domus is truly leading by example as this strong female presence in leadership roles can have a positive trickle-down effect on diversity at all levels of the organization.”


The role of equality in the financial world

Research has shown that in the financial services industry, gender equality varies greatly based on career level. As career level rises, female representation severely declines.


Financial Services Industry: Representation of female and male employees at all levels

Financial Services Industry: Representation of female and male employees at all levels

Source: Mercer


Breaking down barriers from within

In an era of rapid change, organizations that prioritize a diverse and inclusive internal culture will be best placed to solve the problems of the future.


When executed well, efforts to hire and promote a more diverse range of candidates and create a strong internal culture reinforce one another. The more diverse the workforce, the more inclusive the culture will naturally become. Research has shown that when a company’s culture feels both fair and inclusive, women and other underrepresented groups are more likely to thrive.


Alter Domus supports diversity in its many forms. In addition to our 50/50 gender split, we have a truly international talent pool made up of 65 different nationalities across our 2,400 people. We understand that gender diversity and cultural diversity go hand in hand in creating a better world.


March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to encourage us to share responsibility and play our part in fostering equality on a global scale.