Gender Equality, a Corporate Performance Driver
Companies have every reason to promote women to executive positions. To understand the difficulties of reaching gender equality, we go to Japan—often considered a “macho” country. Then we look at how changing men’s mentality on gender equality has been a major challenge for organizations like Nissan and Bristol-Myers Squibb. From there we go to Iceland, to see how the 2008 Credit Crunch and the ensuing "Kitchenware Revolution" changed the role of women in the business world. Today, Iceland is considered the world’s champion in gender equality, with advanced mentoring schemes for women like at Islandsbanki, the country’s largest financial institution. We also travel to France to see how ING Direct has revised its work schedules in order to allow women to reconcile their professional and private life.
Gender Equality in Iceland (06:25)
After the financial crisis of 2008, Reykjavik took control of Islandsbanki, hiring Birna Einarsdottir. Many saw abuses of power by privileged men and demanded more participation of women in business. A new quota requires corporate boards to be 40% women.
Women's Contributions at Nissan (05:37)
In Japan, women make up less than one percent of executive boards; Nissan gives more responsibility and creativity to women. Rika Kiritake explains that in design, women are aware of different details and what works for other women. Kiho Ohga takes a personalized and collaborative approach to leadership.
Cultural Barriers for Women in Japan (04:55)
The CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb set a goal to integrate more women into the company, hiring 188 women and paying for babysitting; cultural barriers challenged the changes. Tatsuya Ichiyanagi was the first man to take parental leave. Georges Desvaux explains that male codes and work ethic are embedded in contracts and other aspects of the workplace.
Balancing Work and Family in France (02:16)
ING Direct Customer Relations Manager Marion Moalic has the ability to take her son to day care because of a company rule preventing meetings or emails before 9 am and after 6 pm. This rule, and others like it, allows employees to have a significant role in their family, manage time, and delegate to their team.
Powerful Women and Barriers to Success (03:55)
Facebook C.O.O. Sheryl Sandberg argues that women need to fight the barriers to equality in the workplace. Women underestimate their ability and rarely stand up for themselves in the workplace. Sandrine Devillard explains that women often view themselves as equal or inferior to peers, requiring specific support to gain a promotion.
Mentoring for Women's Careers (03:37)
In 2012, Islandsbanki initiated a mentoring program to connect women with prominent professional women. Hildur Kristmundsdottir explains that despite her qualifications, gaining the advice and support of another successful woman was helpful. Such a program needs the commitment of company leaders to be successful in driving women's achievement.
Credits: Gender Equality, a Corporate Performance Driver (00:37)
Grade: 6-8, 9-12
Gender Equality, a Corporate Performance Driver (DVD)
Time: 29 Minutes