Don't yawn: gender equality is not achieved and we need women to boost productivity
Celebrate International Women's Day 8 March
Until we have men and women working together to solve gender equality, we won't get equality. While one gender is asked to lead the change for the other gender, we will still have imbalance.
- Gender equality requires a mixed-gender approach
Yes, asking male leaders to model what change looks like for other men is helpful, but this must be matched with highly visible mixed-gender leadership teams working together to shift outdated assumptions and values that limit the progress of females in Australian business and society.
- Gender equality requires mixed culture leadership
Females in Australia are not all Caucasian, they come from many races and ethnicities, so we need to ensure those who lead on gender equality represent the mixed cultural groups in the population. As the highest levels of business and government are predominantly white, as well as male, we still have a way to go.
Christine Lagarde advises
Lagarde says on Q and A 'quotas in Europe have changed the landscape' and 'we have set quotas, we have reached the quotas and we are resetting the quotas'. She adds 'It's not a woman's affair, it's a human affair and to have men and women endorsing the project...is exactly the right way to go'.
Her comments reinforce the message outlined in Stepping Up, that we need everyone to work at full capacity to boost productivity and growth.
With harmony there is efficiency: using the talent of all cultures feeds growth
Celebrate Harmony Day 21 March
What images or thoughts come to mind when you read the words 'cultural diversity'?
Are they positive and related to your business growth and performance? Or are they thoughts that you immediately dismiss, believing that they do not apply to you?
- G20 sets the pace of change
The G20 has committed to driving world growth up by 2% and to do this we need to be able to work more effectively together.
As the world globalises, our workforces 'mobilise' too and this means that we can access talent from almost any nation in the world. However, to fully utilise the talent that travels down-under and lands on our shores, we must build organisation cultures that enable people with different values to operate effectively.
- Chinese visitors keep coming
97 million Chinese tourists traveled the world last year (up 14 million on the previous year) and the almost 700,000 visiting Australia are expected to rise to 1.4 million visitors per annum in the next eight years, boosting current spending from $4.4bn to $8.4bn.
Our business challenge is to be able to respond to the increasing needs of Chinese tourists, investors and immigrants.
Our economic opportunity is to get closer to Asia and adapt our national culture and corporate cultures to make them more Asia friendly and Asia capable.
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Contact Pamela Young if you are looking for a speaker for your March event here
Pamela Young is celebrating with more than 700 leaders and influencers:
200 leaders at Accenture in Sydney
As early adopters of good ideas, Accenture is leading the way by sharing Stepping Up with male and female partners, staff and clients on 6 March.
It is my pleasure to outline the message in Stepping Up and where 'my ideas came from' to this prestigious audience as they celebrate their many gender-equality successes on International Women's Day.
380 leaders at FITT in Sydney
Men and women who work in technology roles across all sectors and industries come together each year to celebrate the progress of women, and discuss ways to attract more females to IT and help them push past barriers to realise their potential.
I am joining a panel of experts from across the IT sector on 7 March to lead a discussion to 'Inspire Change', which is the global theme for IWD 2014.
120 leaders at WIT in Melbourne
For 16 years male and female leaders of the technology sector in Victoria have been gathering to celebrate the efforts and successes of women.
On 21 March I will share some of the findings of Stepping Up's research with this group of leaders and will co-present a discussion with Kathryn Fagg, a Reserve Bank Board member, about why men and women need to work together to achieve sustainable change in the workplace.
To build Asia-capability, we have to remove the Bamboo Ceiling
How many capable people do I meet who have lived and worked in Asian nations and can't get work in Australia in a field that uses their Asian experience or at the level they attained overseas? Bucket loads!
How many CEO's say they hire 50/50 Australian/Asian graduates every year and within 3 – 5 years most of the Asian graduates have gone? Most of those who hire Asian graduates!
For a nation that prides itself on having a highly multicultural population, why are we so challenged when it comes to building Asian relationships and appreciating Asian experience?
Challenges for Australian leaders:
- local employers tend to treat all people from all Asian nations as one group, as if their cultures are the same; they are not, so we undermine the performance of people through our ignorance
- our cross-cultural managerial skills and experience are very limited due to our distance from other nations and our island state
- we have been focused on aligning with Western cultures for the past 226 years and know little about the values and beliefs of Eastern cultures
- we don't integrate immigrants fully or quickly; the general belief is that 'full integration is not desirable' and that it takes up to two generations for an immigrant group to be fully accepted in Australia
- Building Asia capability quickly
Closing the gap is not such a huge task: we need to remove the Bamboo Ceiling and give Asian people access to top level jobs (see the 'force field' described in Stepping Up); we need to reinvest in learning Asian languages; and more people need to experience living (working or studying) in an Asian nation.
When our top teams include skilled Asian leaders and more Australian leaders with Asian 'immersion' experience, we will see an improvement in our economic performance across the Asia region.
Australian organisations have cultures that favour people of Western origin, and in particular Western males. The values and beliefs of people raised in Australia are very different from those of people raised in an Eastern, or other non-Western, culture.
The different values are reflected in the workplace behaviours we see. Australian businesses that evaluate their Asian employees on the same criteria as their Western peers, are disadvantaging the Asians by failing to make cultural allowances.
People of every culture have potential to add to a company's bottom-line performance; it is our failing as leaders if we have not yet identified how to make that happen.