There’s a growing awareness that when women thrive, businesses, communities, and economies thrive.
But in the business world, recognizing gender balance and inclusion are essential and achieving measurable progress is another story all together.
Change is difficult and painfully slow — and we’re nowhere close to closing the stubborn gender gap.
GenderAvenger offers those who care an appealing opportunity to accelerate progress by taking action to shine attention wherever women’s voices are excluded from the public dialog.
At the 2014 Sustainable Business Summit in Washington DC, there were more women business leaders in attendance than men and more women engaged with White House staff and elected officials than men.
This, at a business and policy summit? Unheard of!
“Being eligible for Gender Avenger’s Hall of Fame fueled the fire in our Working Group, reminding us what we’re working towards, and reinforcing for our organization as a whole that people are watching. Public policy is a key driver for change. Not only are women half the population, but we should visibly be half of the public policy dialog.” — Working Group for Women Co-chair Pat Heffernan
In 2014 GenderAvenger’s strategy of “public shaming” when women’s voices are excluded, (or public recognition of gender balance when appropriate), caught the attention of members of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) Working Group for Women. The Working Group for Women is a ‘think-do tank’ for forward-moving women business owners, managers and employees. ASBC helps ensure that gender concerns are reflected in ASBC’s policy and advocacy work.
Over the past year the Working Group for Women developed a suite of ten policy solutions to close the funding and opportunity gap for women and minority-owned businesses. Nearly half of the new ASBC policy solutions presented at the 2015 Sustainable Business Summit build on GenderAvenger’s strategy of shining public attention on gender balance and inclusion by calling out public corporations and public agencies that fall short— or publicly celebrating those doing well on behalf of diversity and inclusion.
Adding business voices to hold corporations and public sector agencies accountable for gender balance can dramatically change the public policy dialog and debate. Thank you, GenderAvenger, for the inspiration and model of action.
Pat Heffernan is founder and president of Marketing Partners, founder of Women Business Owners of Vermont, and co-chair of the American Sustainable Business Council’s Working Group for Women.
Crystal Sheeley is Program Associate, generationOn, Points of Light, and a member of the American Sustainable Business Council’s Working Group for Women.