March 14th, 2018
Contributed to the Globe and Mail on March 11, 2018.
March 8 marked International Women's Day, 24 hours to celebrate the political, social, economic and cultural achievements of women. Yet in corporate Canada we remain frustratingly far from reaching gender parity. In fact, only 3 per cent of TSX-listed companies have a female CEO and only 14 per cent of board seats at TSX-listed firms are occupied by women. At this pace, we remain some 200 years from achieving parity. The risks of this reality are simply too great to be accepted.
Canada is in a unique position globally and with that comes the privilege that we can find new ways to drive change. Our financial institutions are already driving innovation with technology, but the challenge that lies ahead is how to apply this same thought process to diversity to reap the economic and social rewards. According to the McKinsey Global Institute,,Canada could add $150-billion in incremental GDP in 2026 by advancing women's equality.
However, if achieving gender diversity was easy it would have been done by now, especially with all the intelligent and well-intentioned professionals working on it. Unfortunately, it is hard and requires major societal shifts, senior level commitment, focus and significant effort; but worse what we have done to date has not yielded results.