• Lea Jakobiak

#LouderTogether: We Speak To UN Women About Inclusion In Business

By now, ensuring that your business is as inclusive as possible is a no-brainer. But it's no longer enough to just be a "passive leader", it's all about being an "active leader", and here's the difference.

Zena Media got an exclusive invite to the #LouderTogether event organised by One Loud Voice, featuring Spokespeople from UN Women, Zonta International and IWF.

L-R: Lea Jakobiak, Zena Media, Simon Gallow, UN Women, Jacqueline Abbott-Deane, One Loud Voice, Kathleen Versland, Zonta UK

We met Simon Gallow, Development Director at UN Women UK, who is the man behind the famous equality campaign #HeForShe, fronted by Actress and Activist Emma Watson. As he explained, too often gender inequality is framed as a woman's problem, when in fact equailty for women is progress for all.

He showed us two fantastic examples of 'active leavers' in business. First up, Bob Moritz, Chair of PWC. PWC has managed to increase the representation of women in their global leadership team from 18% to 47% in just 15 months.

And Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone, was another great example of someone who is being pro-active as an inclusive business leader - not just in-house - but for his customers.

A lack of financial inclusion is a problem for a lot of women who live in emerging markets. There are currently around 2 billion people (men and women) who are unbanked, meaning they don't have access to basic financial products, business loans or mortgages. Fintech and mobile banking is helping to change all of this, and Vodafone is aiming to connect an additional 50 million women living in emerging markets to mobile by 2025.

So what is a passive leader? Well, according to Chris Parke, CEO of Talking Talent, "inclusion is more than being polite, it's about you taking action".

A passive business leader:

  • Is Polite

  • Appears To listen

  • Lets people sink or swim

  • Helps individuals if asked

  • Expects people to fit in

  • Tends to ignore differences

  • Says the right thing but little action

  • Will act when required

Whereas an active business leader is:

  • A vocal, visible leader

  • Personally builds diverse teams

  • Makes it ok for people to be themselves

  • Works hard to bring diverse opinions out

  • Ensures everyone is heard

  • Willing to change past methods

  • Role model for inclusive behaviours

  • Challenges other people on their behaviour

So if you're being "active", you would ensure that it's not always "the usual suspects" who talk in a meeting and also encourage both men and women who work for you to do the school pick ups, so that the responsibility is shared.

There are other great examples of companies doing good on this front.

Zena Media was recently invited for team drinks with Octopus Energy in Soho, London. Their CEO, Greg Jackson, always ensures that the London Pride Week is one of the key celebrations across the whole company. Octopus Energy actively takes part in supporting the LGBTQ community.

And Aviva now offers men and women equal parental leave, and employees get the same amount of paid and unpaid time off, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how they became a parent (birth, adoption or surrogacy).

So there you have it, a few great and different initiatives taken by businesses to be more pro-active about inclusion. We feel very inspired indeed after this great event organised by One Loud Voice, thank you for having us!

Tell us what your business is doing to be actively inclusive in the comments below!

#LouderTogether #EngagingMen #HeForShe #Equaily #Inclusion #OneLoudVoice #UNWomen #Zonta #Aviva #OctopusEnergy #ParentalLeave #Pride