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April 14, 2024
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Dr Ngozi Ogwo, the Chief Executive Officer, Grant Thornton Nigeria,

IWD: Firm outlines pathways to increase women representation in senior management

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By Rukayat Moisemhe

Grant Thornton International Ltd., a financial advisory firm, has identified three clear pathways for businesses to accelerate gender parity aimed at increasing number of women in senior management roles in organisations.

The firm made this known on Monday in Lagos, via its 20-year Women in Business Report to commemorate the annual International Women’s Day celebration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that findings in the report was drawn from 5,000 interviews conducted between October and November 2023.

Among the interviewees are chief executive officers, managing directors, chairs, and other senior decision-makers from all industry sectors in mid-market businesses in 28 countries.

Dr Ngozi Ogwo, the Chief Executive Officer, Grant Thornton Nigeria, noted that the percentage of women in senior management roles globally had increased from 19.4 per cent to 33.5 per cent over two decades.

Ogwo, however, stated that progress remained slow with just a 1.1 per cent point increase from last year.

At the current rate, Ogwo observed, gender parity would not be achieved until 2053.

She said the company’s report “Pathways to Parity: 20 Years of Women in Business Insights”, was a two decade research work aimed at monitoring and measuring women’s representation in senior management roles within mid-market companies worldwide.

“The three clear pathways for businesses to accelerate progress towards gender parity in senior management include firstly assigning responsibility for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I).

“The second include implementing a standalone DE&I strategy with measurable goals; and thirdly offering flexible working arrangements,” she said.

Ogwo noted that for every senior management role that led on DE&I, the percentage of women in senior management positions increased when a member of the C-suite, of any gender, leads alongside a senior female leader.

She added that when a chief executive officer of any gender combined with a senior female leader, 38 per cent of senior roles are held by women.

“The most successful strategy is one which focuses on DE&I alone, independent of a broader Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) strategy.

“Mid-market firms with a DE&I strategy, but no ESG strategy, have the highest percentage of senior management roles held by women (38 per cent) – slightly more than businesses which have both a DE&I strategy and an ESG strategy (36 per cent).

“If businesses do not have a DE&I strategy or an ESG strategy, the percentage drops to 28 per cent.

“In today’s world, it is essential for women to be an integral part of DE& I leadership teams, as they bring unique perspectives, experiences, and insights that contribute to the creation of a more balanced, empathetic, and effective workplace culture,” she said.

Maddie Wollerton Blanks, Director, People consulting, Grant Thornton United Kingdom (UK), said the final pathway to parity is the ability to work flexibly.

According to her, there has been a dramatic shift back to office-based working among global mid-market firms in the past 12 months.

According to her, 47 per cent of businesses are now primarily office-based (compared to 36 per cent last year) and 45 per cent are hybrid (compared to 53 per cent last year).

“Businesses in which workers are primarily office-based are the only ones where the percentage of women in senior management roles drops below the global benchmark.

“Grant Thornton urges businesses to heed the call for action and seize the opportunity to drive meaningful change.

“As the global economy evolves, maintaining focus on gender parity is essential to ensure a prosperous and equitable future for all,” she said.

Peter Bodin, the Firm’s Chief Executive Officer, said the research was a significant contributor to the global debate on equity in the workplace for 20 years.

Bodin noted that while there had been some positive changes over that time, sustainable change needed intentional effort and clear accountability from leadership at every organisation.

“Through the business report and the pathways we identify, we aim to give mid-market organisations a roadmap to accelerate progress and build more diverse, resilient and successful businesses,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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