Women’s role as productive members of the society has always been underlined by numerous thinkers, scholars and gender equality activists. If we don’t diverge out attention towards the biased attitude of male co-workers with their female counterparts, we can focus our attention towards the role that women can play in global economy. Beth A. Brooke who happens to be the Global Vice Chair of Public Policy at Ernst & Young. She says that at a time when organizations are even shying away from investing in rapidly growing markets like China and India, they seem to be very much interested to investing in women.
Citing a research Beth is pointed at the findings which states that gender balance in leading positions improves the performance of an organization. Europe too has started to assign greater amount of interest to the issue. One recent incident worth quoting is where Luxembourg’s Yves Mersch, who was considered for the post of European Central Bank board, was voted against him taking the position by European Parliament’s economic affairs committee. The rationale behind the move was considered to be lesser number of women getting top posts in EU as compared to men.
The proposal presented by EU’s Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding for setting up quota for women in all EU supervisory boards is also facing the risk of moderation amidst pressure mounting against the proposal slated for November presentation. To counter threats like these Beth has set up CEO Champions and Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society with her CEO Jim Turley. Beth is a strong advocate of women’s participation in businesses and believes that change can be initiated from the top which is ultimately going to benefit both, organization and society.
Beth said that the move was pertinent as it addresses the core issue of gender equality and its only through policies like these that the prevalent exploitation could be shaken from the core. Beth said, “What is clear is that business leaders must commit to champion change” She said that the motive of creating the peer group “CEO Champions” is to start bringing change although gradually towards women empowerment. She described the gesture saying, it will help them get, “visibility with teeth.”
Beth A. Brooke has called her peer group unique by indicating at the inclusion of top rung of decision makers belonging to wide business community. The 30% Club of UK and Male Champions of Change from Australia are successful change agents in her eyes and she wishes to bring similar change in favor of the cause like the said initiative has brought in their respective regions.
Beth said, “There really is no longer any excuse to not be investing in one of the largest untapped economic engines” She believes that initiatives for social change like CEO Champions must take care of certain issues like be clear towards the goals that they want to achieve, providing right incentives for organizations and institutions willing to act upon the issue and provide such flexible work environment that could help both men as well as women attain their true potential. If all this could not be done then it will be only organizations that will face the peril arising out of failure to change, leaving only the way of quota system to be imposed upon institution as the last measure.
To Beth, if the women potential could be harnessed effectively, they can contribute as producers, entrepreneurs, employees and consumers in the global economy. The amount of workforce we are talking about here is anywhere near 1 billion- strong enough to match up to the level of economic contribution shared by China or India towards global economy.
The recent data released by Booz & Company states that if women are given more opportunities to contribute in economic growth then US can witness GDP growth figures of 5%, Japan by 9% and developing economies like Egypt can grow by as much as 34%. Another report released by World Economic Forum indicates towards the fact that economies that are most economically competitive as well as successful are the one who have successfully managed to bring down gender gaps in their respective regions.