In a world of socio-economic issues, gender equity is an issue millions of people must deal with globally. It often feels like social issues are not the same as business issues. The cold hard fact is that businesses are in business for profit and social issues rarely garner the focus or resources needed to resolve them. Gender equity is a great example. Not only is there a big disparity between genders when it comes to pay and opportunity, but aside from it being an issue of fairness, businesses haven’t needed to pay attention to it until recently. The fact is gender parity and equity can be a powerful force for business growth, revenue, and strong company culture. I recently talked with Katica Roy, Gender Economist, CEO and Founder of Pipeline an AI-driven platform for gender equity. She shared her passion with me for turning this issue into an opportunity for organizations.
The Dance of Equity and Parity
Getting to the origin. Let’s start with some definitions. Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial. Parity is the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay. Gender parity is often considered an organizational issue. When the status or pay among genders is not equal there is a problem. You could say that this creates a lack of equity or fairness, but I would say that a lack of equity is the origin of the problem. Either way, it is a reality in our workforces in the US and globally. In a report from World Economic Forum on gender equity in 2018 reporting from 149 countries, they found that there was a 32% average gender gap. Politics and economic participation were the worst segments with gender gaps of 77% and 41% respectively.
Let’s Dance. As the gender equity conversation continues and awareness is raised more organizations will get on board with commitments to solve this problem. Katica not only has a solution to help accomplish this, but I love the way she is doing it. She shows organizations that gender parity isn’t an issue, it’s an opportunity. As systems for advancement and pay are optimized to ensure equity and as awareness of areas of opportunity is shown, companies can create more inclusive and equitable work environments. This dance of solving social issues within the context of growing the business and revenue is a brilliant use of technology and strategy.
Inclusion Creates Opportunity
Diversity is untapped potential. One of the things I absolutely love about Katica’s message is it isn’t just about one gender. She points out that both men and women can be underutilized in roles that have been dominated by one particular gender. When we create a more balanced organization we open up new opportunities for everyone. The benefits of gender equity don’t only reside within an organization, but also to the people outside of an organization. Inclusion brings health within and puts a welcome mat outside. As organizations strive to find and retain new talent, inclusion and gender equity become a differentiating factor which will ultimately lead to more business success.
The Morality of Community
Connection Creates Responsibility. We are all connected. With this connection, especially in the workplace, it requires equity and fairness to function properly. Diverse societies across time have all operated with some promise of morality and equity that allows for a community to thrive. Gender parity is not only good for business but it’s also the right thing to do. We all want to be treated fairly and rewarded for our contributions without bias, but many factors play into organizational gender bias. With large companies, it isn’t enough to make it strictly a moral decision, it needs to be a financial decision for the business because it will require resources and investment. Katica has taken what many consider a social issue and she has proven with data that it is really an organizational opportunity for revenue and she doesn’t just believe that, she proves is with data. In a research study conducted by Pipeline across 4,161 organizations in 29 countries, they found that for every 10% increase in gender equity there is a 1-2% increase in revenue.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Gender Equity Makes Dollars and Sense. Katica’s Pipeline platform shows organizations the potential financial implications of making each positive change. The balance of optimization and gender equity flows to the top line. By utilizing data and optimization to solve an intrinsically human problem, Katica has found a data-driven solution that grows revenue while solving what was once an issue. When we make social issues revenue issues within a business they will get solved. This is the type of business leadership that is needed for so many social issues today. Once she shows organizations how they can grow revenues by solving the gender equity gap they take action and allocate resources. The results go beyond optimization, they create a fair and equitable business that is poised to generate more revenue.
Technology To the Rescue
Deep Problems Require Deep Solutions. In a technology-driven world, many people fear that humanity is getting lost. This isn’t the full story. People like Katica are using artificial intelligence and data to solve human problems. Like all problems, gender equity can be measured. Data is left behind that can show where the problem is and light the path to the solution. When people think of unfair wages, promotions, and treatment of women in the workplace we want to solve that problem through people, but people often have systemic biases that can be hard to remove. Technology, on the other hand, can be created to remove bias and create fair analysis. People alone may not always make fair decisions when it comes to performance, but technology can. This is a perfect example of how technology can positively impact people’s lives and create a better experience for people everywhere. Katica continues to lead the way in solving people problems with technology. Hire her to speak at your next event.