When I asked a Federal Government Secretary what she thought was required by organisational leaders to increase the numbers of women at the top, she said:
- Lots, all at once. Always.
- Constant vigilance across all processes across the whole organisation.
- An understanding that women’s progression is not about feeling better, it’s about doing better. More women leaders provide businesses with a competitive advantage and will differentiate them in their industry.
- Be a champion – always.
- Provide explicit and frequent reminders that ‘women’s business is everyone’s business.’ Spread the message at every meeting – internal and external.
- Appoint a senior woman as women’s advocate and make women’s progression part of their job description. She must work directly to the CEO.
- Sponsor a women’s network, give it a budget and secretariat support.
- Pay attention to gender dynamics, especially in meetings. Go out of your way to encourage women to speak. Provide personal validation of ideas and give credit where it’s due.
- Do whatever is necessary to bolster women’s confidence recognising that it may have suffered as a consequence of being ‘crapped on’ by blokes every day.