12 posts categorized "Diversity"

January 20, 2014

Womenomics in action

Goto_yoriko_300x200This year I am attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos as a representative from Deloitte Japan and as a Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) board member. Even as a third-time delegate, I am always thrilled to meet great people and be exposed to new perspectives and innovative ideas.

Last year, I emphasized the importance of including women in the boardroom for business development and innovation. In fact, DTTL has increased the percentage of female board members from 8 percent to 25 percent this year. It is a great honor for me to have been appointed as one of the DTTL board of directors in addition to a board member role in Deloitte Japan.

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January 30, 2013

Making a genuine gender difference

Blog_woman_waitingroom_300x199It is one of the enduring paradoxes of working life: Advancing women in business life seems common-sense but in practice appears to flounder and not make the headway we all expect. The reasons for this were a topic of discussion at the recent OECD Gender Forum – Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now, where I joined a distinguished group of participants, including government and business leaders. It was clear from our discussion that challenges remain.

Take diversity for example. Deloitte Australia has recently carried out ground-breaking research (“Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup?”) in the manufacturing, retail, and healthcare sectors. When modelling the relationship among diversity, inclusion and business performance, the research found that when both diversity and inclusion were high, there was an uplift of some 80 percent in perceptions of business performance. Buoyed by these results, the research was widened to include customer service, innovation and engagement. And the same thing happened: Perceptions of business outcomes are always significantly higher with high diversity and high inclusion. Another finding was that where employees perceive their organization is committed to and supportive of diversity, and where employees feel included, they are 80 percent more likely to believe they work in a high-performing organisation.

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January 24, 2013

Bringing female perspectives in the boardroom – Challenges in Japan

Dttl_YorikoGoto_DeloitteJapan_300x200I have the honor to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos as one of the five representatives from Deloitte this again year. Deloitte LLP, the U.S. member firm, was the first professional firm that launched an initiative for the retention and advancement of women in the United States. Started in 1993, the Women’s Initiative changed the firm culture to retain and advance female professionals with leaders’ solid commitment.

Within 20 years, the U.S. firm achieved quite a number of goals: closing the gender gap in retention and promotion (female partner ratio from 7% to 23% and female board member from 1% to 30%). This was, of course, a turbulent journey, but does prove that we can make it happen if we believe in it.

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March 21, 2012

30 percent by 2057 – Can we get there quicker?

StonesThere is no doubt that the trend to have more women on company boards and their greater representation at the senior levels of companies and other organizations is on an upward trajectory. The problem is that the trend is moving at a slower pace than many would wish. And the reasons for this are infuriatingly varied. There is no one easily identifiable issue which is holding up progress and this makes it harder to try and accelerate that progress. But there are many areas where enthusiasm, enterprising initiatives and, in some cases, government action, are making a real contribution to change.

Much of this came to the fore at the recent workshop of the OECD, BIAC, the business and industry advisory committee to the OECD, and the American Chamber of Commerce in France. I’ve mentioned this event before in previous blogs, and it is its second session on which I reflect today.

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February 21, 2012

Reflecting on 'The Business Case for Women’s Economic Empowerment' workshop

BIAC, AMCHAM France and OECD workshopThe recent joint workshop on the business case for women’s economic empowerment which I chaired at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris was, I hope, another small step to integrating women’s experiences, perspectives, and voices into the fabric of our organizations, systems, and societies. Over 120 experts from around the world had gathered, including the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD and the OECD Deputy Secretary General, and representatives of business, government, and investor communities.

It was a joint meeting between the OECD; BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD; and the American Chamber of Commerce in France and the aim of the day was to provide a business perspective and best practice experience to the OECD’s Gender Initiative. A report on the shared ideas will go forward to the 2012 OECD Ministerial and Forum to be held in May.

The levels of engagement in the discussion reflected just how important an issue this is for many, and for many reasons. What was being discussed didn’t seem to be mostly about the research and the data. It was much more grounded in common-sense and shared experience. Several people mentioned President Obama’s recent remarks on the subject and used them as their starting point. He had said that what we are talking about when we talk of women taking a much greater place in the economic structure is very simply that we want the same opportunities for our daughters as we want for our sons. Put like that the issue becomes very simple and almost unarguable.

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February 06, 2012

Ladies first

Ladies First ad banner

Ladies first: An old adage, but one that was top of mind on 2 February 2012 at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), AmCham France, and OECD joint workshop on the economic empowerment of women. And so it should be. Women are a critical resource in facing the challenges of our global economy, both as an emerging market and as a significant pool of human talent.  Further, gender diversity creates the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent for private and public institutions, and role models who can be an inspiration to billions of women and men worldwide.

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February 01, 2012

Harnessing the potential of women in the workforce

Yoriko Goto in DavosI have just spent a fascinating week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The theme for 2012, The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models, covered several topics such as shifts of geopolitical and geo-economic power, multiculturalism, technological innovation, and job creation. For example, academics and business leaders put forth the idea of job creation that focuses on the hundreds of millions of people that will enter the job market in the next decade. Businesses that will gain a competitive advantage in the future will be those that focus on talent by fostering entrepreneurial risk-taking and achieving true gender equality.

Against this backdrop of gender equality discussions, one of the highlights of the week for me was the Gender Parity session on Friday. As the leader of the Japanese Financial Services Industry practice at Deloitte Japan and the first female represented on the Deloitte Japan Executive Board, I am passionate about shaping employment and leadership opportunities for women. I had the privilege of talking to leaders from around the world in this interactive workshop about their experiences, and how to improve opportunities and career paths for women leaders in the future.

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December 15, 2011

The Gender Dividend: An urgent economic imperative

women, diversity, leadershipThe biggest issue facing many of the world’s economies today is economic growth and job creation; yet it is with mixed results that governments and business are tapping into arguably the largest emerging market in the world and the greatest natural resource for knowledge, talent and investment: women. Statistics strongly demonstrate that there is in fact a gender dividend, but despite progress, there is a long way to go with respect to improving women’s economic opportunity and thereby harnessing the potential of the gender dividend.

What is needed is focused government policy and business engagement at all levels to support women at work. Sound socio-economic policies must underpin and encourage action, and governments, along with business, must innovate, support community investment, and remain committed to making the difference as it relates to women. Amongst business this means measurable, management-led policies and practices to drive female leadership across management roles and divisions, on boards, at the highest executive levels (the C-suite), and throughout the talent and supply chains. Many companies worldwide are making significant strides, but ongoing commitment is needed.

This is not just a question of the trillions of dollars of untapped consumer demand that women represent, but the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent for private and public institutions, and role models who can be an inspiration to billions of women and men worldwide. Government, business, and society must continue to integrate women’s experiences, perspectives and voices into the fabric of their organizations and systems. Only then will we truly benefit from the gender dividend.

For more on this issue, read the full article (PDF). Also read and download Deloitte Global Public Sector's report "The gender dividend: Making the business case for investing in women."

Charles HeeterCharles Heeter is with the DTTL Global Public Policy Group and a principal in the U.S. member firm. In his role, he engages in Deloitte global public policy initiatives, is responsible for building cooperative relationships with capital markets stakeholder groups, and helps coordinate the Deloitte global regulatory network. Heeter is also Chairman of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

April 12, 2011

Why WEP matters: The UN Women’s Empowerment Principles – one year later

Blog_pellegrino_WEPIt is a universal maxim that there is strength in numbers. While it’s great when one company commits to investing in women—it’s even better when that number is 170. That’s how many CEOs have now signed the United Nation’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). And as evidenced by the UN’s one-year commemoration of the launch of WEP last month, that number seems likely to grow.

This event, where I participated as a panelist, took the importance of WEP to a new level. More than 150 executives attended the conference, from such well-known companies as Banco de Brasil, Calvert Asset Management, and Novo Nordisk. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, himself opened the meeting—and there were nearly as many men as women in attendance.

All of this underscored a palpable sense of urgency that seemed to pervade the conference. An urgency that the time to invest in women is now. Not in a year or two when the economy recovers. Not when the dust settles after various laws and regulations take effect, but now. If you want to grow your economy or business and stay competitive, you need to start taking the role of women in organizations and in leadership roles more seriously—and focus on intentional change.

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March 07, 2011

Not business as usual: Realities for professional women

Woman checking postings on windowIn the past year I have co-authored two reports on women—Paths to power: Advancing women in government and The Gender Dividend: Making the business case for investing in women—and participated in many events, including a symposium at the Harvard Kennedy School, discussing how investing in women can help organizations and countries reap a gender dividend. Yet even with all the attention this issue is attracting, it still seems that change is slow in coming.

Statistics bear out that there is awareness of the potential that women represent. There is movement to change the rules around equal pay, equal access, and equal opportunity as well as a resetting of norms to acknowledge the importance of women’s advancement and economic access.  In many cases, these concepts are validated through legislation and policy.  

But the results are not yet there, the change is not entirely embraced, and the “systems” are not acting in concert with the rules. Working women are still limited by a lack of support networks and mentors as well as near -impossible demands in terms of work-life balance. Yes, there are organizations that value women and choosing to work at one might be the single most important decision a woman can make to ensure her career has longevity and advancement.

But if you are waiting for an organization to drive the new behaviors that will allow it to reap the gender dividend, you may miss important windows of opportunity. So what can you do right now? You can build a personal business case for yourself.

The business case concept put forth in The Gender Dividend was built to argue for an organization’s targeted investment in women. But if we morph the concept ever so slightly, it can also be applied directly to an individual. We are at a moment in history when both top-down and grass-roots approaches can coexist and you, the individual change agent, can serve as a powerful element in the current state of play.  Enough individuals taking action can and will have a significant impact.

As you mentally consider your business case, there are two realities to keep in mind:

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