Women are struggling with corporate visibility. They are not as prominent as they should be. How can we put this right?
An excellent article in Influence magazine (Q3 2019) called The Gender Say Gap put its finger on a big problem – women and corporate visibility. They are invisible in many areas of the corporate world and in many public sector organisations. And particularly at the top of organisations. They speak less at conferences, they are on fewer industry panels and they speak for their organisations less often than men. This in turn means that women’s ideas and voices are less visible than they should be in every aspect of corporate life from product design to policy making.
In the corporate world, there are many brands that want to appeal to almost everyone. From skincare products to financial services to DIY tools, these brands take pride in their universal appeal. But so many of these organisations undermine these brand goals. That is because, often, only men represent them to the media. Many in corporate communications think our sector should lead the way and promote women as spokespeople and leaders. We should be much more serious about encouraging and sustaining diversity. The top team should make sure they reflect the diversity of customers and workforce.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, appointed a commendably diverse Transport for London board in 2016. Almost a third of the board came from ethnic minority groups. More than half of the board were women including Mayor Khan’s deputy at the time. The board’s vital role is to scrutinise and approve TfL spending and major policies. These policies affect every resident of London, so how could its oversight committee do its job without being properly diverse?
This is exactly the kind of leadership we need. What is interesting about the TfL board is that it also has top level expertise across business, finance, engineering, policy and employee relations.
More about Mayor Khan’s TfL board can be found here TfL board – diversity