Policy Commitment

Policy Commitment

All studies of successful balancing of men and women in decision making at all levels identify the crucial factor of leadership and commitment. Official commitment, often combined with sanctions for non-performance, produces measurable change in the representation of women and ethnic minorities in leadership positions. It is only with committed leaders, who translate their vision into hard policy that change occurs. Leadership needs to be continuous so that action plans are monitored and evaluated.

A common belief is that ‘time’ alone will bring change. Most of the firms that have successfully brought women into the highest echelons did not wait for ‘time’ to do its work, but took committed action to identify leaders, search out talent and nurture it. They faced up to resistance and roadblocks in their companies. Such leaders make convincing public statements backed up by policy that links rewards to managers fostering women on their way to leadership. Without a commitment to changing gender balance from the top and the board itself, change may be merely cosmetic. Below find examples of leadership practice, and policies that enable companies to move towards more gender diverse boards.

“We need to give talented women more support through initiatives like coaching, greater exposure to the board, and providing the right preparation.”  Glenn Goovaerts, HR Country Head for Deutsche Bank in Belgium.

Role of Leadership

Often times a single change agent, a hero or heroine is held responsible for bringing gender diversity to the board, but bringing about sustainable change means that a critical mass of leaders must be convinced of the necessity of gender and diversity balance for the organisation’s well-being.

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Role of Formal Policies on Board Structure

A crucial step is a revision of the formal policies on appointments to boards.

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