Is your board Stale Male and Pale?

1st Oct 2014

It has been very interesting recently engaging with the property and construction industry around the topic of 'diversity'.
We have heard senior leaders of that industry describe themselves as 'stale male and pale'
For us, it is a timely reminder that different industries are at different stages in their diversity evolution.
Some industries have multiple strategies and programmes that educate and impact a wide range of areas such as unconscious bias, cross -cultural and multi-generational working, gender balance and inclusive leadership.
For others earlier in their diversity evolution, they are just starting to measure exactly where they are.
At Beacon Women we realise that to create the change that we are passionate about we must meet each business 'where they are'. Many choose to look at the lack of senior women as a gender issue others choose to view gender through the lens of diversity.We find that often when we promote our 'gender agenda'- people stop listening.
At the end of the day, we all want the same thing...inclusive business cultures that allow everyone, no matter what their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability or age to have equal opportunities.Whether it is the opportunity to run the show or even just to be heard in a meeting.
And so to the property industry and the launch of their ' Open Plan' campaign, which outlines 10 initiatives to help improve levels of diversity. As the launch campaign in Property Week suggests-they have a way to go.
Measuring diversity is about demographics, numbers and facts. It is a fact that the global membership of The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is only 14.6% women, in addition men in property earn on average 25% more than women. These statistics point to the need for more diversity, however what can not be measured are the levels of inclusion.
Inclusion is about how those who are not 'male and pale' feel about their working environments. If the property industry move towards greater levels of diversity without addressing how inclusive the cultures of individual businesses are, it will be a waste of time, effort and money. 
The "Open Plan" manifesto has some great intentions, such as having open minds and increasing transparency. However, as one CEO told us, the challenge now is to ensure that targets are put in place to measure progress while paying attention to the impact on the culture of their businesses and the industry as a whole. 


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Is your board Stale Male and Pale?