CEO Champions at The Women’s Forum
Content and viewpoints about workplace equality and diversity continue to spread around offices and the Internet following the seventh annual Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, which took place a couple weeks ago in Deauville, France.
Publicis Groupe took a majority stake in the international event in 2009; as such we are proud to call the Women’s Forum “family.”
One particularly thought-provoking discussion took place during a panel entitled, “CEO Champions: What if we had to do even more to advance women in corporations?” Moira Forbes, president and publisher of ForbesWoman, moderated the panel consisting of: Patricia Barbizet, CEO of Artémis and vice-chair of the Board of Directors of PPR Group; Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission; and Olivier Fleurot, CEO of MSLGROUP.
Ms. Forbes noted that the CEO Champions group, formed last year, is dedicated to bringing CEO’s and thought leaders together to discuss how to remove barriers that keep women from reaching the highest echelons in business, including opportunities to serve on corporate boards.
You can catch the entire video below, while here is a brief recap of the key points:
- Given our complex times, it is more important than ever to create policies that help women advance; women are a critical component of any “talent innovation” strategy, as they can help businesses and society move forward;
- Change needs to start at the top; CEOs need to champion women just as they would any other pressing governance or strategic business issue; while well-intentioned, many CEOs do not do enough;
- Women account for only 13% of board memberships at publicly traded companies in Europe;
- Women need mentors, chances to network and other avenues to build self-confidence. A man offered a job with little experience might say, “I can do it” whereas a woman in the same position might say, “I have not done that before.” Either this is because she lacks self-confidence or because women and men express their desires differently;
- Self-regulation is perhaps not enough; perhaps quotas are an option;
- In Brazil, a construction company led by a woman went from 100% men five years to 50-50 today, proving that dramatic changes can be made in a relatively short period of time;
- Women and men could both benefit from increased mobility and flexibility; people today can work from anywhere and therefore should not be judged for how many hours they sit at the office but for what they actually deliver; increased mobility and flexibility will help women and men juggle family and business life better;
- Being a parent should be seen as a “plus” by the company and society and laws/corporate policies should exist to help people lead families while managing careers;
- Statistics show that women work less when they become mothers but men work more when they become fathers, again further proof that society needs to better support working mothers.