Celebrating our HERoes
13 September 2019
It’s the end of another week, and for us here at INvolve, it’s been a big one. Yesterday we launched our HERoes Women Role Model lists 2019, supported by Yahoo Finance, celebrating 190 women leaders, future leaders and advocates. As always a big shout to all of our role models, but special mentions to Nicola, Kemi and Johan, our fabulous numbers ones.
It’s the third time we’ve released our HERoes lists and I never fail to be wowed by all the incredible things that are being done to empower women and really drive that female talent pipeline. However I was disappointed that this year we’ve had to reduce the number of advocates on our list, from 50 to 40. I could sit here and slate men and say that they’re useless and don’t want women to succeed. But I don’t believe that. I think this is actually reflective of a challenge that I’ve heard many men speak about – they are passionate believers in equality and want to support their female colleagues, but they simply do not know how.
We conducted a mini survey last month across women business leaders in our network. We had almost 150 responses, and every single one said that we need more male executives advocating for women in business. As men, we are in a very fortunate position, and whether we realise it or not, we’ve been afforded a lot of privilege. In fact 77% of our respondees said that their organisations have more men than women in senior positions.
Whether we are within a minority community ourselves or not, we are all allies or advocates to other communities, and we have a duty to support them. 41% of our women business leaders said that they thought it would take more than 20 years to eradicate the gender pay gap. This is a depressing statistic, but I also see it as a challenge. Women are already fighting for this to improve; if we, as the other half of the population could push for it too, then we could see change happen twice as quickly. Right?
That may be a simplistic way of looking at it, but you can see where I’m going. We all have a role to play in the quest for gender equality. And if checking, and using, our privilege is a good place to start; sign me up!
I didn’t actually start this piece to talk about men – they get enough airtime! But in looking at our survey results and the shorter advocates list this year, I’ve realised that it’s a conversation that needs to be had. I’m so proud to call myself an advocate and a champion of women in business. If any of you men out there can take one thing away from reading this, please can it be advocacy. Look around you, look at your behaviour, and think at how you can support your female peers and teams.
Last night we had a fantastic celebration reception, kindly hosted by Deloitte, and it was a truly wonderful evening. It’s the first time we’ve held a celebration for our HERoes role models, and it was such an inspiring room full of people. And as if inspiration wasn’t enough, it also got us all thinking about next year’s lists, when we will be celebrating with… A GALA! I’m so so excited! Our HERoes lists will be released a little earlier in 2020, so please get 2nd July in your diary and keep your eyes peeled next Spring for details of our Gala tickets, tables and sponsorship packages.
I think that all that is left for me to say is HUGE congratulations to all of our HERoes women role models and advocates. You should all be incredibly proud of yourselves and what you’ve achieved. The world is still an unequal place, but with all of you steering us in the right direction, I’m confident that the mythical level playing field might be within reach.