Now is the time to invest in gender parity

Jan 23, 2020

Let’s apply portfolio diversity principles to our workforces to help drive their success and close the gap on gender parity in the workplace, says Darina Barrett.

Investors devote considerable time and skill to ensure that our investments are suitably diversified, and we firmly believe in the portfolio value of sustainability and diversification.  Who among us would consider an investment without including those fundamental elements for success?

Why, then, are we not moving forward at a greater pace in bringing these critical qualities to our workplaces?

In my view, organisations must do much more to ensure that they are building sustainable, diversified enterprises. A deliberate and concerted shift in this direction will unquestionably enhance the value of businesses and their prospects for future success.

This mindset is becoming critical, given the intense competition for top talent and the vital skills that will define their success – even survival – in the digital age.

Just as diversification and sustainability help safeguard the future of our investments, businesses should also adopt this approach to shape their workforces through the gender-parity lens, and now is the time to act.

The best person for the team

In the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, Klaus Schwab highlights the growing urgency for action against inequalities in the workplace. “Without the equal inclusion of half of the world’s talent, we will not be able to deliver on the promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for all of society, grow our economies for greater shared prosperity or achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“At the present rate of change, it will take nearly a century to achieve parity, a timeline we simply cannot accept in today’s globalised world, especially among younger generations who hold increasingly progressive views of gender equality.”

We have spent enough time and energy addressing gender-parity and examining it from every angle imaginable. It is time to turn ideas into action.

Let’s apply the power of diversity to gender parity just as we have applied diversification to investing and value enhancement, understanding that the results will be the same: stability and vastly heightened prospects for future success. At the same time, amid the growing race for talent and critical new skills in our rapidly transforming workplaces and workforces, let’s replace our pursuit of the ‘best person for the job’ with a quest that seeks the best person for the team.

Turning ideas into actions

We believe and live by the modern portfolio theory – look at the whole portfolio rather than one investment. Let’s put that thinking – from a diversification perspective – into concerted action for a new future of gender-parity and the heightened prospects for success that it holds.

Darina Barrett FCA is a Partner in Investment Management in KPMG.