Over 160 of Northern Ireland’s CEO’s and senior business men and women, gathered yesterday, 2nd April, to attend The Business of Diversity Lunch, sponsored by All State at the iconic Belfast Harbour Commissioners Harbour Office.
The lunch, hosted by Diversity Mark NI and Women in Business NI, was an opportunity to highlight the significance of gender diversity and encourage organisations to make the changes necessary to bring about sustainable and significant improvements in women’s career progression and create environments that are fair and positive for everyone.
Gary McGann, Chairman of Paddy Power Betfair plc, former CEO of Aer Lingus and Smurfit Kappa, and former Non-Executive Director of the Anglo Irish Bank, was the keynote speaker who shared his passion and insights into the benefits of promoting gender diversity in businesses.
Recognised as one of Ireland’s most successful CEO’S, McGann spoke passionately on how changes in organisations are necessary if gender diversity is going to be implemented successfully into organisations.
Speaking at the event McGann said, “Seeking gender diversity in businesses is not simply about making up numbers, it is logical. There is a wealth of incredible talent on offer from women and there is no sense in businesses limiting their talent seeking to a tighter market.
“In all aspects of life, women are instrumental in making decisions. Females have a huge input in the end market, so why are they missing in action in middle level decision making process? The reasons are threefold: there are not enough women putting themselves forward; females tend to hold themselves to higher standards; and the education process is preordained to position men in senior business roles.
“To tackle this imbalance, the tone must be set from the top. Procedural processes must be implemented in the workplace to challenge inequality, to enable people to overcome barriers to gender equality.”
Speaking at the lunch event, Head of Business at Diversity Mark NI Christine White commented, “The time to act on gender inequality is now and we are calling on all businesses to assess their gender equality procedures. Organisations must seek to remove obstacles faced by women at key points of career development and progression, implementing structural and cultural changes that help advance gender equality and put in place a strategy and an action plan to effect meaningful change.
“Diversity Mark NI’s Charter recognises that organisations cannot reach their full potential unless they benefit fully from the rich and wide-ranging talents and abilities of all their employees. A balanced workforce is good for business: it is good for customers; for profitability; and workplace culture.
“With 38 organisations now signed up for a Gender Diversity Charter Mark we are making strides to tackle disparity in the workplace and events such as todays are crucial in encouraging others to make the steps to developing an unbiased workplace to benefit everyone.”
For further information on the Charter Mark and to sign up visit www.diversity-mark-ni.co.uk