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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Why it is important to talk about gender gaps in companies

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The 8th of March, International Women’s Day, It is always a time to make demands and take stock. “Gender gap”, “glass ceiling” and women’s access to leadership roles within companies are increasingly important issues on the corporate agenda. A good way to analyze the problem is to observe the numbers and consider what modifications can be made within the organizations to find improvements in the current situation.

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There were recently two reports that focus on women’s access to leadership positions globally and in Argentina.

A recent study presented by IBM The objective was to describe gender parity in 12 countries, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, through surveys of 2,500 executives, managers, and professionals.

The 10 industries represented include banking, consumer, education, government, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, retail, technology and telecommunications. Among the most relevant conclusions are the following:

  • 45% of organizations made advancing more women into leadership roles a formal priority. This is a significant jump from 25% in 2021, but still does not reflect a substantial change.
  • Respondents estimate that their industry will see gender parity in leadership in 10 yearswhen in 2019 the average estimate was 54 years.
  • The number of senior leadership positions did not recover to pre-pandemic levels: 14% representation of women in senior vice president positions (18% in 2019) and 16% in vice president positions (19% in 2019). Besides, andhe percentage of women in professional and non-executive management positions has not moved since the fall of 2021even dropped a bit for senior manager roles.
  • At the other extreme, 40% of junior professionals/specialists are women, making it the closest role to gender parity (it was 37% in 2021).
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Maria Fernanda VelazquezBusiness Transformation Service Lead from Argentina and Uruguay, spoke with Ambit where he presented the results of the report and assured that in some cases gender parity also “has a lot to do with the culture of the company, with flexibility and that of being encouraged, being flexible when hiring. I think there is also a fear of women to face new challenges. By having few success stories that it can be done, that we can inspire and forge more networking networks”.

At that point, Velázquez stated that the work of companies to achieve gender parity begins from the beginning of the employment relationship: “when it comes to recruiting we have to take into account the organization’s policy”, she commented, referring to the possibility that working women can have the tools to balance private life and professional life.

Likewise, he raised the relevance of female roles in companies that inspire those that are still in full labor development: “We are missing female roles to follow that inspire and motivate us. Beyond cultural differences, the study proves that this is data that is repeated in all countries,” he added.

Argentine CEO’s: what happens in companies in our country

At the end of last year, KPMG together with Revista Mercado carried out a study on women on boards. This is a survey of the presence of women on the boards of the Argentine companies with the highest turnover in the country, where it was possible to verify that the process of incorporation into places of leadership continues to be slow, something that the IBM report also demonstrated but globally.

In this casethe numbers were also significant: out of a total of 6,248 board members surveyed between holders and alternates, it was found that 5,248 are men and only 1,000 are women (16%). Regarding the presidencies, 93.5% of the surveyed cases are made up of men.

The study was carried out from the survey of the information available in official bulletins of the Nation and provinces (in some cases the minutes of appointment of directories are published one year after the corresponding assembly), National Securities Commission (CNV), Bolsar , Superintendence of Insurance of the Nation, Central Bank (BCRA) and web pages of the companies or organizations themselves. Of the 1,000 boards surveyed, there are 64 cases with designated signatories (President, CEO, General Manager) by foreign companies with subsidiaries in the country.

“We can already observe a trend that indicates that, although there is a small improvement, the truth is that the representation of women on boards as holders does not manage to exceed 15%. This figure is well below the records of European countries and certain states of the United States, where the percentage ranges between 30% and 40%.”

“The positive thing is that in recent years the issue of gender equality has been installed and political decisions have been made for improvement, today many companies have implemented actions that help women in the maternity stage, others demand that in shortlists there are always women, and that the curricula are blind, among other changes. this is not yet reflected in a significant and faster increase towards equity on boards”, said Tamara Vinitzky, Partner in charge of Clients and Markets, Marketing and Communications, and Diversity, Inclusion and Equity at KPMG Argentina.

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In addition, the study showed that, of the total surveyed, in 472 boards there are no appointed women. In the rest, 528, at least one woman has been chosen to fill the available positions.

Finally, it is worth noting that in 88% of the 956 boards made up of two or more members, the participation of women is less than 40%.

These two studies show that women continue to have difficulties accessing leadership roles. The positive thing is that the debate is open within the companies and they carry out different positive actions to improve gender parity and accompany women in their professional development.

It is the new generations that push the change. Banishing biases, promoting inclusion and greater access to opportunities, is the way to go.

Source: Ambito

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