future matters

Explore the gender gap at work and in life, together

13 December 2018

Explore the gender gap at work and in life, together

How can both men and women win?

People are at the heart of everything we do. When exploring and designing the future we celebrate diversity - combining insiders with outsiders and unusual thinkers with creative makers. Part of this is also to strive for gender balance, a topic that is getting higher on the agenda of both our clients and society at large. It’s a challenging issue that can only be solved when men and women address it together.

Last summer we participated in the iW50 Summit of INSEAD: recognizing 50 years of women at INSEAD and bringing greater attention to the gender imbalance. One of the speakers was Bill Morneau, the Canadian minister of finance, who quoted Malala: “We can not all succeed when half of us are held back”. Inspired by this, we bought a book by Joanne Lipman; WIN WIN - When business works for women, it works for everyone. It proved to be very relevant in the context of sustainable development goals, to quote the back cover: “Diving deep into the wide range of government initiatives, corporate experiments, and social science research Joanne Lipman offers fascinating new revelations about the way men and women work culled from the Enron scandal, from brain research, from transgender scientists, and from Iceland's campaign to 'feminize' an entire nation. WIN WIN is a rallying cry to both men and women to finally take real steps towards closing the gender gap.”

What we liked about the book are all the fascinating examples and entertaining stories – such as the woman behind the success of Tupperware. And it creates awareness about the common behavior of both men and women. At the end of the book, she gives a ‘Cheat sheet: tips and takeaways for men – and woman'. Some are obvious, eg. don't be afraid of tears (is crying out of frustration the same as yelling?.) And some are really helpful regarding recognizable behavior, such as ‘interrupt the interrupters', institute a ‘no interruptions' rule for everyone. Her main conclusion is: the future is now. We truly have to work side by side, facing forward as we look toward to the desirable future, together.

Can we really change our behavior now, to create a better gender balance? Are we willing to work together to close the gap?