Posted in: reports

23rd September 2020

Gender Balance and Inclusive Cultures: A Guide for CEOs

At The B Team, we envision a world in which business is a champion for equality and leadership structures reflect the diversity of the communities in which they operate. The world has long experienced the detriments of conformity that permeate C-suites and boardrooms around the world. Lack of gender balance and diversity at the top is bad for business and bad for people. To change how we do business we need to change who is in leadership—and gender balance, diversity and inclusion are key levers for change.

Photo by World Economic Forum

Equality is critical for our success and at the core of our values. It is an essential part of our business strategy and we set goals for equality just as we do for our growth."

Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group (IKEA)

That’s why we’ve developed Gender Balance and Inclusive Cultures: A Guide for CEOs to offer motivation and clear guidance for C-suite leaders to champion gender balance, diversity and inclusion in their companies and beyond. The Guide takes a unique approach by encouraging CEOs to combine a personal commitment to inclusivity with specific and smart business tactics to transform their organizations and meaningfully embed gender balance, diversity and inclusion into the DNA of their companies.

We know women are disproportionately impacted by corruption, climate change and civic rights crackdowns among others. And we also know of the economic and social opportunity that lies in achieving gender parity. The latest estimates put this reality more than 200 years away. Clearly we cannot wait that long."

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair, Gavi

The Guide presents CEOs as uniquely positioned to take action in three key areas and includes specific actions in each category:

STRATEGY: Set ambitious, time bound and public targets to advance gender balance and diversity. Track progress against these goals as well as gender and race pay gaps and salary ranges. Strive for transparent and ethical use of this data.

OPERATIONS: Review and amend workplace policies (including hiring, promotion and family leave practices) with a focus on mitigating bias and improving the pathway to support women and diverse candidates to get to the top.

ADVOCACY: Use your exceptional platforms and expertise to communicate the benefits of advancing gender balance and diversity to investors, national governments, legislative bodies and the media. Support strong and binding legislation in this arena.

Photo by World Economic Forum/Sandra Blaser

The world is increasingly connected and we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. Future global prosperity requires women to be at the forefront of the digital revolution, allowing business to benefit from the world’s smartest minds regardless of gender."

Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA

This Guide is for CEOs who are ready to make change—as well as those already on the journey. It distills knowledge from business leaders, experts and the latest research to drive meaningful action. We are grateful to the many peer reviewers and CEOs who provided feedback to ensure our recommendations are as strong as possible.

Photo by Monika Flueckiger

We’ve been trying to tackle the world’s hardest problems with only 50% of our collective brainpower. It’s time for that to change. By bringing more women into positions of power and influence, we can finally use the full measure of humanity’s talents and ambitions. We need all the best ideas, and the most courageous leaders, to conquer the challenges ahead."

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This publication is dedicated to our dear friend and B Team Leader Bob Collymore (1958-2019), CEO of Safaricom. We are forever inspired by Bob’s leadership and his dedication to inclusion as the glue that holds successful organizations together. As Bob would often say, "Diversity is inviting someone to the ball; inclusion is asking that person to dance."

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate inequities and movements for racial justice and an economic reset take hold of our world, there has never been a more important time for this work. We invite you to dig into the Guide, take on the suggested actions and share it widely with your networks.