News & Insights

Women’s World Cup vs World Cup: Goal #5

Whether it’s for business, political and maybe even FIFA leaders – there is everything to gain by harnessing the opportunity of equality

This weekend’s football in France led to some discussion with family and friends about whether it is necessary for FIFA to point out that it is the WOMEN’S World Cup, vs just the World Cup.

It reminded me of the plea of the brilliant Binna Kandola at the Politico Women Rule summit last week, asking companies to please stop announcing that they’ve just appointed a “female CEO!”

Before the leader in question has even started this marks her out with all kinds of expectations and question marks unrelated to her professional qualifications for the job.

On Sunday, as the European Council was preparing to meet, our football discussions were eclipsed by speculation about who the new leaders of the European institutions will be.

The question of whether a leader who hasn’t been Head of State can lead the European Council was raised.

Given how many more men have held this position in the EU, if this is a prerequisite for the role, it greatly reduces the chances of finding a suitable woman for the top job.

European leaders could consider the Massachusetts equal pay act for inspiration. The act – passed on 1 July 2018 – prevents employers from asking a candidate’s salary history until an offer of employment with compensation has been made. One of the key objectives is to stop perpetuating the pay gap. 

With several excellent female candidates for the job, it is time to look beyond the past and to focus instead on future potential.

As Roberto Viola, Director General of DG Connect said at the launch of the UK Women’s Network in Brussels, also last week, we need to stop seeing gender equality as a responsibility, and start seeing it as an opportunity.

There is opportunity for everybody from the benefits that would derive from having a diverse team of European leaders. Diverse teams perform better. Europe is also seeking to take a lead on the global UN Sustainable Development Goals. Goal #5, on gender equality and empowering girls and women, is central to achieving all the 17 goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call to action for civil society, government and business to work together to address some of our most pressing challenges. 

There is also a recognised market opportunity – estimated at trillions of dollars – for companies who adopt more socially focused and purpose-led business models, and reap benefits such as sustainable innovation, new partnerships, employee engagement and reputation. 

Governments and civil society are increasingly asking business to take the lead on some of the big challenges addressed by the SDGs. Ensuring gender equality is part of that.

We develop strategies and communications campaigns as well as training to support organisational change and engage the right stakeholders on initiatives around gender and diversity. 

Whether it’s for business, political and maybe even FIFA leaders – there is everything to gain by harnessing the opportunity of equality.

Want to find out more about why it matters to your business? Contact Katarina Wallin Bureau