Motivated by Personal Experiences, Founders of Paradigm for Parity® Coalition Launched Initiative to Close the Gender Gap

As Women’s History Month comes to an end, two of the Paradigm for Parity® coalition founders shared how their experiences in the corporate world inspired them to take matters into their own hands and lead the charge to help companies create diverse and inclusive workforces.

The Paradigm for Parity® coalition was created by 50 women business leaders – including CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members, and business academics – who are committed to achieving a new norm in the corporate world: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity. The group knew that nothing would change unless women who already held senior positions developed a solution for all women.

Barbara Perlmutter, a former Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), Inc., said: “As a young business school student, I wrote a thesis on women in the workplace and I concluded that women did not have the same pathway for future success as men and therefore must demand and work for equal opportunities and advancement. At MMC, I worked my way up to becoming the Chief Communications Officer of the parent company and the only woman in a senior executive position. I didn’t have women leaders to look up to or to learn from, which is why, after retirement, I was motivated to join with women business executives to create the Paradigm for Parity® coalition. Our mission is to ensure that women in the workplace have support within their organizations and opportunities to advance and reach leadership levels.”  

Julie Fasone Holder, a former Senior Vice President of Dow Chemical Company, said: “Creating a corporate culture where everyone can flourish has been a priority throughout my career. As someone who was often the first woman to step into each role as my career progressed from entry level to the C-suite at Dow, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is for a company to have a proactive strategy to retain and promote women. I’m proud to have joined with fellow women executives to create the Paradigm for Parity® coalition to leverage our experiences to provide companies and executives the tools and support they need to create diverse and inclusive workplaces so future generations of women have the same opportunity for success as men.”  

The coalition created the Paradigm for Parity® 5-Point Action Plan for corporations to accelerate the pace of gender equity in senior executive roles. The plan was created by women who personally overcame barriers in the corporate world and were committed to paving the way for all women to succeed. This unique agenda defines bold and specific actions that, taken together and simultaneously implemented as a package, will catalyze change and enable today’s business executives to secure the best leaders of tomorrow.

The five points are:

  • Eliminating or minimizing unconscious bias in the workplace;

  • Significantly increasing the number of women in senior operating roles;

  • Measuring targets and maintaining accountability by providing regular progress reports;

  • Basing career progress on business results and performance, rather than physical presence in the office; and

  • Providing sponsors, not just mentors, to women well positioned for long term success.

Today, the Paradigm for Parity® coalition boasts 103 companies that are committed to leveling the playing field for women in their workplace. Together, the coalition companies employ more than 5.4 million workers worldwide from a diverse range of 28 industries, including technology, health care, food service, retail and financial services.

Gender-Balance in Corporate Leadership is Better for Business

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the strides women have made in their fight for equal rights — in society and in the workplace. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, “Balance for Better,” is a call-to-arms that a more gender-balanced world is a better world — and the Paradigm for Parity® coalition could not agree more.

Q&A with Dr. Sheila Robinson, Publisher and CEO of Diversity Woman Media

To celebrate Black History month, the Paradigm for Parity® coalition is recognizing trailblazers who have been leaders working for gender and racial parity both in society and within their own organizations.

This month, we spoke with the Publisher and CEO of Diversity Woman Media, Dr. Sheila Robinson. Dr. Robinson is a former corporate executive turned successful entrepreneur and media executive who has a keen understanding of how gender and race interplay in the workplace. She uses her media platform to advocate for, lift up and advise women of color to help them succeed in the corporate world. Dr. Robinson also serves as a member of the Paradigm for Parity® coalition steering committee.

Black History Month: The Role of Corporations in Advancing Equality

Black History Month honors the legacy of the women and men who were pioneers in advancing civil and equal rights. It is a time to celebrate the progress in leveling the playing field for people of color, and to acknowledge that we have a long way to go to achieve true parity in both the workplace and in society as a whole.

Paradigm for Parity® Coalition Companies Are Prioritizing Hiring and Promoting Diverse Candidates

Women and men enter the workforce at the same rate, but as women climb the corporate ladder the percent of women in leadership positions drops significantly, according to the 2018 Women in the Workplace report. Paradigm for Parity® coalition companies are working to prioritize diversity as they hire and promote employees. Executives from Bloomberg LP, Ingersoll Rand and Willis Towers Watson share the steps they are taking to get more women into leadership positions.

Paradigm for Parity® Coalition Companies Are Putting the 5-Point Action Plan into Practice

The Paradigm for Parity® 5-Point Action Plan is comprised of actionable steps that companies can take to achieve gender parity in corporate leadership by 2030. Our 92 committed companies are using the action plan to design programs and practices within their own companies to close the gender gap. Edison International, Heidrick & Struggles and VF Corporation are making meaningful changes within their companies to increase the number of women in leadership positions.

Paradigm for Parity® Coalition Companies are Setting Gender Parity Goals and Making Progress

A critical step to closing the gender gap in corporate leadership is setting measurable goals and communicating about progress. Since the Paradigm for Parity® coalition launched two years ago, our 92 companies are putting our 5-Point Action Plan into practice and they are seeing the results. Leaders from three coalition companies — Accenture, Sodexo and UTC — are sharing the goals that they’ve set and how they are working to achieve them.

Women’s Equality Day Reminds us of How Much More There Is to Do

By Sandra Beach Lin, Jewelle Bickford and Ellen Kullman, Paradigm for Parity ® Co-chairs

On August 26th we celebrate the 98th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote!  We remember the women who would not be denied. Because of their persistence, generations of women were given the opportunity to participate in our democracy. But as history has shown, despite having made great strides, women have a long way to go to achieve true equality. 

To Eliminate Pay Inequity, We Must Change Corporate Culture

by Jewelle Bickford, Paradigm for Parity Co-chair

As we observe this year’s Pay Equity Day, we are faced with the stark and sobering reality that many women had to work approximately four months into 2018 to make the same amount as men earned in 2017. 

In Our Sisters' Shoes: What We Should All Learn from Black Women

by Stacey Tisdale, a member of Paradigm for Parity

The global conversation about women’s equality, however, must move from focusing on problems to highlighting solutions that acknowledge that different women have different experiences if we are to ever find the unity within our diversity.

Women in Business Advise on How to Succeed in Corporations

This month the Paradigm for Parity® coalition has celebrated the many contributions of women in business. And while there have been so many amazing women leading the way, it is important to address the next generation of women trying to reach their full potential and become leaders

Men Advise Men on How to Create Gender Parity

The companies that have joined the Paradigm for Parity® coalition understand that men play an important role in getting more women in leadership positions. During Women’s History Month, several male leaders from Paradigm for Parity® coalition member companies offer some advice on how men can empower women with opportunities to advance that will help pave the way for parity in the workforce.