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Navigating the path to gender equality

One Loud Voice's pioneering Gender Benchmark will launch in June 2024. It promises a transformative framework for organisations, enabling a leap towards achieving gender equality through a comprehensive evaluation of gender equity practices

Every revolution has to start somewhere. At One Loud Voice (1LV), our ambition to help women in the workplace at every point of their career journey has been underway for several years. In 2024 we are turbocharging it with the launch of our Gender Benchmark. Structured around seven strategic goals the Gender Benchmark serves as a cornerstone for organisations to articulate their commitment to both equity and equality in the workplace. This innovative Gender Benchmark is not only an assessment tool; it is declaration of an organisation’s commitment to setting new standards for gender equity, thereby paving the way for genuine gender equality.

A distinctive perspective on achieving gender equality

While initiatives like the 30 Percent Club and the FTSE Women Leaders Review have significantly contributed to increasing female representation in leadership roles, the 1LV Gender Benchmark introduces a nuanced approach. It recognises that achieving gender equality is not solely about enhancing female representation in executive positions but also about understanding and implementing gender equity actions that create a conducive environment for such equality. The Benchmark is designed to illuminate the path towards gender equality by identifying potential gaps in gender equity practices, aligning perfectly with 1LV's goal to support women at every career stage and dismantle systemic barriers in corporate cultures.

We are highlighting each of the seven Benchmark Goals over the coming months.

Goal 1:  Commitment to gender equality

The Benchmark’s first goal is about establishing an organisation’s level of commitment to gender equality and evaluating the presence of measurable targets aimed at achieving this equality. This process will highlight best practices and encourage organisations to adopt effective strategies and gender equity initiatives.

Measures to assess an organisation’s commitment include: the current representation of women across all roles; whether specific gender targets exist; whether there is a target for

the percentage of women in middle management positions; whether there is a target for including women in the pipeline for senior management roles; whether the board has committed to achieving gender equality targets. Key measures are the gender equity actions that achieve the gender equality targets.

Organisations will receive an initial rating as well as specific feedback and leaders will see where and how they can make changes. By using the Benchmark, organisations will be showing teams, future employees, suppliers, customers and even the City that they are on a clear path to gender equality.

Fostering systemic change for talent across career stages

The 1LV Gender Benchmark aims for systemic change to ensure women are fairly represented and promoted at all stages of their careers, with a particular focus on middle management roles. We know that the talent pipeline in these roles is lacking, and it is impacting career progression to senior management roles and beyond. This Benchmark will enable an organisation to set its own standards for achieving equal and appropriate representation of females and to ensure women have an equal chance of making it through the talent pipeline to senior roles: it is also about bringing change that will benefit UK plc.

The business case for gender diversity

Research has consistently shown that diverse gender teams work better and produce more effective results. McKinsey research in 2020 revealed that organisations in the top quartile for gender diversity were 25 percent more likely to have above average profitability than peers.

Forbes carried out research using the Cloverpop decision-making database. It analysed almost 600 decision makers in 200 different business teams over a two-year period. It found that inclusive teams make better decisions up to 87 percent of the time, and teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions two times faster with half the number of meetings.

With clear gender equality targets and measurable gender equity inputs in place, organisations can help bring about the sort of lasting change that will have a wider, ripple effect on the workplace.

Looking Forward

The introduction of the 1LV Gender Benchmark marks a significant milestone in the journey towards gender equality. By establishing clear targets and measurable actions for gender equity, organisations can foster the kind of lasting change that transcends individual companies and impacts the wider workplace ecosystem. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the 1LV Benchmark Goals in our forthcoming articles, laying the groundwork for a more equitable and inclusive future.


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