Melbourne Business School News #IWD2021: How leaders can make gender equity a reality in the workplace

#IWD2021: How leaders can make gender equity a reality in the workplace

Business leaders who want to achieve gender equity should start by understanding how it will add value, says Professor of Organisational Behaviour Isabel Metz.

In recognition of International Women's Day 2021, Professor Metz says addressing gender inequality helps to unleash the full potential of everyone in an organisation, not just women – and that change is most powerful when it is driven from the top.

"We know that most CEOs, most chairs of boards, most executives, most heads of government agencies are still men," she says.

"We also know that, in order for change to be successful and effective, it's best when it's introduced by a powerful change agent. Therefore, it makes sense that CEOs, as powerful change agents, are the ones that take up the cause of gender equity."

Professor Metz says the most effective way for leaders to enact change is to understand the specific business case for correcting gender imbalance in their organisation.

“Ask the question, 'Why and how is gender diversity valuable to my business?'

"This knowledge is going to help them not only create a business-focused gender-diversity vision for the organisation, and strategy, but, because they did it based on the knowledge that is specific to their organisation, hopefully they will be able to convince more of the people at all levels of the organisation."

Watch the above video interview with Professor Metz to learn more.

The theme of International Women's Day this year is #ChooseToChallenge, which encourages everybody to call out gender bias and inequality, and celebrate women's achievements to help create an inclusive world.

The University of Melbourne will be holding a series of online and in-person events throughout the week, including a panel discussion on building gender diversity in non-traditional disciplines introduced by Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell. You can view the list of events here.

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