Glenn Elliott, CEO and founder, Reward Gateway
It’s International Women’s Day today and at Reward Gateway, we’re marking it with the publication of our second diversity report and a whole programme of events.
Our diversity stats show that 50% of our workforce is female. Of that, 48% of leadership and senior management roles are held by women and 33% of our technical roles (31% of engineers) are held by women.
We don’t have a gender pay gap and we promote people fairly and equally regardless of their gender.
Despite this we’re asking all of our women to take at least part of the day off as paid volunteering leave to support the international A Day Without a Woman action. We’re closing our staff cafe’s early, reception will be closed in London and our cleaners, who are all women, will go home early at 1pm today.
Women working at Reward Gateway can rely on being paid and treated equally to men but for millions of women around the world this is not the case.
In the short time that we’ve been planning today, I’ve been asked by some men “why aren’t we included,” or “why isn’t there an International Men’s Day” and the answer is straightforward, if unattractive to some people. Men on a whole do not face discrimination, bias and inequality on a daily basis. Women do. Here's what I mean:
- 66 million girls in the developing world are denied an education every year because they are female.
- Because of that, women are 35% less likely to be in paid employment than men, globally
- When they are in paid employment, they earn 20% less than men.
- Female executive directorships stand at 9.7% in the UK’s FTSE 100 and 5.6% in the FTSE 250
- In the Fortune 500, only 15% of executive positions are held by women.
The bar for gender diversity in the workforce is so low that at least one company that was featured in Fortune Magazine's Best Companies for Women list had zero women on the leadership team at the point of its award. It had never ever had a woman in a top level position.
This is not just a travesty for women, it’s a disaster for business.
I thought carefully about whether this post should come from one of our female leaders. Is it odd that our note on International Women’s Day comes from the male CEO?
But I don’t think International Women’s Day is a “women’s issue.” I think it’s a business issue.
I think the fact that women generally have less opportunity than men, see entrenched, institutionalised discrimination every day and therefore have to struggle and fight to get the same results as men, negatively impacts our businesses and our organisations every day, too.
The way we think, the way we evaluate options, the way we process risk, the way we see opportunity is a product of our personality and our experiences. Where we have diversity of background we therefore have diversity of perspective, of opinion. Where we have diversity of opinion we have more discussion, more debate and more dissent and in a good culture this leads to better decision making, better risk taking and ultimately better business.
Diversity is not something we “do” to be fair to the women. It is not something we “do” to be fairer to black people. It is not something we “do” to be fair to gay people or any other group.
Diversity is something we want because it creates a better organisation, a better business for our shareholders and our customers. It creates a stronger, more resilient organisation that can better spot the icebergs and better spot the opportunities.
So I’m proud and excited that at Reward Gateway we’re embracing International Women’s Day with enthusiasm, ambition and respect.