Allinium's approach to Gender Partnership is based on the evolution of 25 years of work by the Institute for Women's Leadership and the Institute for Gender Partnership. Over the past decades considerable time, energy and resources have been dedicated to closing the gender gap. Yet, the percentage of women in senior leadership positions has moved less than 1%. Without creating an authentic partnership that involves both the women and the men, little is likely to change moving forward. The "journey" to Gender Partnership has now been elevated to one of the highest priorities in this decade.
Women control 80% of consumer goods purchasing decisions. 61% of all degrees being earned are earned by women. Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day over the next 15 years. 85% of the incoming workforce is currently represented by women and minorities. Credible predictions from the US Census Bureau/Department of Labor indicate there is a talent war on the horizon with 23,000,000 jobs open by 2020 that will NOT have qualified applicants to fill. Attracting and retaining the best male and female talent is critical. Your corporate culture will determine who you get and if you keep them. Bloomberg Markets recent study showed that companies with 50% women at all levels outperformed the S&P 500 by 238%, most notably in the quarter following the collapse of Lehmann Brothers in 2008. Bloomberg market study.
A significant competitive edge is possible for those companies that leverage the potential of women. Simply bringing more women into management doesn’t create Gender Partnership; rather, it usually leads to resistance and resentment among the male majority within the company.
Most managers have been taught that gender quality means eliminating differences – making sure both genders have the same opportunity, treatment, salary, etc. All the sciences – neurological, biological, psychological and physiological – show that men and women are different. Gender Partnership requires leadership to understand and maximize the complementary differences between men and women and is one of the easiest ways to make companies grow.
Gender Partnership is a management change process more than a diversity issue and requires management be on board for it to be effective. Positioning Gender Partnership as a “women’s issue” is unlikely to move the dial or have any lasting impact.