"What good are gender slogans in business if they are not acted on?"

26 of June 2019
INCAE Executive Education

No one seriously can say that there are no macho barriers in society and especially in business. The numbers show it coldly in all the layers, but with more forcefulness in the higher layers; the more powerful the position, the fewer women. This despite the fact that there are more women in universities and it has been shown that their inclusion generates much more than social justice, it generates revenues in companies.

No one can doubt gender discrimination, but that discrimination is strengthened by the lack of actions of people (women or men) who do not put into practice their concern about this huge problem, when fair claims remain floating and are not translated into concrete decisions in a company, a board of directors or a corporate department. 

"That inaction is part of the problem," says Francisco Loscos, academic director of the Women's Executive Leadership Program from INCAE Business School. He points it out from his experience working for decades with companies and governments, with projects and professionals who are convinced of the need to balance power between men and women, but they do not put it into practice. 

"It is when the so-called 'glass ceiling' for women becomes a 'cement ceiling'", says Professor Loscos in his talk 'Challenges and challenges of women in the corporate world'.

This explains why 76% of companies have made a gender diversity plan or declaration, but only 13% have taken action, according to figures handled by the expert. 

This, despite the fact that the strategy consultancy McKinsey maintains that, if there were equal access to positions of power between men and women, the Global corporate profit would grow $ 12 trillionLoscos cited. The reality, however, is that only 20% of high positions are held by them and in the executive committees of the most powerful companies in the G20, only 12% are led by women. 

“Sometimes there is a lot of hug, a lot of encouragement and little action or decision. They should take actions that annihilate discrimination in their company. Even if there is a toll to pay. It is as if the glass ceiling had been created to self-justify that no risks are taken when making decisions. You have to go for them. If not, the glass ceiling becomes a cement ceiling ”, comments Professor Loscos.

This is not achieved by establishing minimum participation quotas for women, but by establishing modern recruitment policies and betting on talent to pursue objectives of competitiveness and efficiency, and that largely depends on gender diversity.  

That is why self-knowledge, self-confidence and the preparation of all people who participate in or aspire to leadership positions are important.

“It is about productivity: it is not heavenly justice, but to increase the value of organizations: it is more productivity, rate of return. It is not a declaration of love (...)  The net productivity margin increases 6% when a company has at least 30% leadership in the hands of women ", Agregó.

For Loscos, it is advisable to ask yourself five basic questions that invite you to reflect and move towards decisions: 
• Where are women on the talent map?
• What skills do we promote in women?
• Do you have ambassadors, sponsors or role models?
• Are we working to eliminate unconscious biases?
• What are the talent attraction and reward policies?

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