While encouraging girls and women to go for a top career, my aim has never been to reach a certain quantity or percentage. I’m driven by a broader incentive: more diversity at management level. And not just diverse in gender, but also in age and background. Everyone benefits from a mix of strong points, from having people from all walks of life be a team and work together: the management team itself (a more pleasant work environment), the employees (positive flow) and the customers (more certainty and transparency).
Why is the road to diversity in real life so very complex? And why is the breakthrough of women to top positions lagging so far behind expectations, that out of exasperation the government now tries to mandate a quota for women?
In short: what is the origin of that resistance to diversity, when the benefits of diversity are evident?
In my experience a lot of that resistance comes from the ‘household reality’. Traditional gender roles are often still very much alive in marriages and relationships. I must have heard it a million times during or after the talks I give: the story of a woman who is held back in her ambitions because the man needs so much support and care. And if a situation comes up, all bets are placed on his career. In other words: when the ‘household managers’ have a dinner table conversation, they often regress to the fifties of the previous century: the man comes first. This is so absurd and old fashioned, that I feel almost compelled to shout:
Because I am an optimist and see opportunities where others give up, I am not taking up arms. And I won’t be defeated by the notion that the dinner table is the decor of an outdated power balance, on the contrary, I identify this as the area that needs work! This is where we can gain the most! In the modern dinner table conversation that I urgently recommend, the ambitions of both partners are equivalent. And they both get equal room. My prediction is that sitting down for an open and honest conversation will not only make you both happier as individuals, but that it will also cement your relationship.
Only when this type of dinner table conversation becomes more common in marriages and relationships, and when because of it women can create more room for their career, we can truly speak of progress. And before long woman will start climbing the ladder to top positions. So please, sit down at the dinner table with your partner today.
Inequality inside your house leads to inequality outside. Prevent that from happening.