The firm’s Women’s Empowerment Manifesto contains ten basic principles with universal relevance. This was the result of work carried out by the Business Advisory Board of The European House-Ambrosetti to encourage companies to focus on and promote female empowerment.
The recent conference of G20 Empower countries painted a very mixed picture in terms of women’s rights. With a simple glance, we can see that the female labour force in Canada, for instance, is 3.4 times larger than in India, which ranks at the very bottom of the list. The average for the entire G20 is 59.7%: in other words, there is much room for improvement.
Ten principles and their advantages
The European House-Ambrosetti has therefore developed ten basic principles that businesses should observe to improve the current situation with a view to taking a leading role in the inclusion of women in the workplace and promoting gender equality policies.
These ten principles are: defining a long-term vision, monitoring progress, overcoming gender stereotypes, changing the cultural background, investing in education, promoting female quotas and female participation at the highest levels of society and companies, investing in future generations, fostering women’s economic independence, closing the pay gap and, finally, zero tolerance against violence at home and in the workplace.
The first principle of the manifesto spotlights the need for a long-term strategy to secure a 360° vision of women’s empowerment. The second concerns improved data collection and reporting, so that progress can be measured over time. The third aims to encourage cultural change beyond stereotypes, including through the media. Fourth, we should not forget that gender equality can already be taught at school, including through the language used and the promotion of the study of STEM subjects by girls. The adoption of a fair balance between women and men in hiring processes is another neutral method to promote a sufficient presence of women in companies, similar to simplifying access to credit. Wage parity is also a key and basic element of equality. Finally, implementing a plan to prevent gender-based violence and provide support to victims is the last, but not least, piece in the strategy to overcome the gender gap at company level and beyond.
“Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan also focuses on promoting female employment through ad hoc measures and investments. The forecast results up to 2026, however, are limited: with an increase in female employment of only 4 additional percentage points, Italy would still be at the back of the queue, second to last in Europe. We need to do more, the time is now”, commented The European House-Ambrosetti CEO Valerio De Molli. The advantages are obvious: “Eliminating the gender pay gap and increasing the female employment rate to match their male counterpart (68%) is worth an additional €110 billion in GDP“, adds De Molli.
Eliminating the gender pay gap and increasing the female employment rate to match their male counterpart (68%) is worth an additional €110 billion in GDP
Valerio De Molli, CEO of The European House-Ambrosetti
So far, many of the world’s largest companies have signed the manifesto: a list that includes Vodafone, Kering, Uber, Pfizer, Unicredit, Philips and Bayer. “Four hundred CEOs and chairpersons of major corporations worldwide, including 70 in Italy alone, have committed themselves to implementing the guidelines that emerged from our working group”, said Paola Mascaro, Chair of G20 Empower, and also President of Valore D, the first association of companies promoting gender equality to boost business growth.
“We all need to be aware that it is only through a real sharing of responsibility by all that we will build a more inclusive, more sustainable and therefore better future for all of us“, commented Family and Equal Opportunities Minister Elena Bonetti at the first G20 conference on women’s empowerment in Santa Margherita Ligure at the end of August.
Four hundred CEOs and chairpersons of major corporations worldwide, including 70 in Italy alone, have committed themselves to implementing the guidelines that emerged from our working group
Paola Mascaro, Chair of G20 Empower
According to The European House-Ambrosetti, today in Italy only 56.5% of women are part of the labour force, versus a European average of 68.8%, and only 29.5% have access to managerial positions, versus 35.5% in Europe. In addition, women-run businesses account for only 22% of the total, and three out of four innovative start-ups do not have female partners. “But if, for example, companies were induced not only to measure the effectiveness of their internal policies but also to make them public, a virtuous competition to improve them would begin, and the same would happen if governments began to reward the most virtuous companies with tax relief policies or incentives of a different nature” specifies Mascaro. “I would add that the market now rewards companies that embrace female empowerment: a strong signal is sent when investment companies like Black Rock reward corporate policies to increase the number of female leaders, and when analysts and investors press companies lagging behind in women employees”.