Championing gender diversity at work | Inquirer Opinion
Business Matters

Championing gender diversity at work

The Makati Business Club (MBC) made gender diversity and inclusivity in the workplace a priority advocacy in 2018 after seeing how diversity can make businesses more innovative. Not only does a commitment to diversity and inclusivity produce more growth and jobs, it also strengthens women’s rights to work, and to stay at work. Gender diversity in the C-suite is crucial for business success and recognized as net gains for the business as a whole. Studies have shown that companies with more women in top management positions and with stronger human capital policies have higher productivity growth. MBC has partnered with organizations like Investing in Women, Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment, and Champions of Change Coalition Philippines to produce reports that support these claims. The objective of these reports is to guide MBC in devising meaningful and applicable initiatives for and with the business community.

In August 2021, MBC established the Women in C-suite (WiC) committee to strengthen the advocacy in the private sector. With its committee made up of a pool of executives who champion gender diversity and inclusion in their respective industries, WiC is dedicated to promoting gender inclusion by breaking barriers that hinder women’s advancement in the workplace. It also helps organizations operationalize inclusive policies and programs that promote diversity of ideas, ingenuity, and competitiveness.

Despite 2023 having more women in the C-suite and sitting on executive boards, a global study highlights that not enough of these talented, skilled, early career professional women are making it to the next level. To help mid-managers visualize their potential career paths and gain valuable insights from direct exposure to C-suite executives and subject matter experts, the WiC Committee organizes learn-and-share sessions that provide them new, external connections by creating a “safe space” to openly discuss gender inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, within a supportive and empowering environment. Through experiential and relatively light-by-design approach that promotes an open environment for sharing, the sessions include the sharing of best practices, where executives from different companies share their success stories and challenges in operationalizing diversity in the workplace. Hosting companies are given a personalized company assessment that help tailor-fit the program to the needs of the company.

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Significant progress in promoting and operationalizing gender diversity in corporate leadership in the Philippines has been made by the committee since its establishment, with its initiatives raising awareness of the importance of gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace and providing mid-managers the tools and support they need to succeed in senior management positions. Executive sponsors of these sessions also incidentally discover potentially strong women leadership talent pipeline through a different lens. Much more work is yet to be done to further actualize the advocacy, but the committee is keen on growing its efforts within the business community.

As we strive for a rebound of economic growth, we will expect to have distractions. We must remain steadfast on our stand for gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We see strong partnerships already on this journey. Supporting and promoting diversity and inclusion practices and programs not only demonstrates a commitment to equality, but it also leads to better business outcomes.

Read more on Women in C-suite report here: https://tinyurl.com/49wxtkss

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Aileen Judan-Jiao is president and country general manager of IBM Philippines and chair of MBC Women in C-suite committee.

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Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).

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TAGS: diversity, gender

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