Today's political climate seems to offer less room for inclusion than ever before. The polarizing campaigns and election in the United States left many divided. And across the ocean, the approval of Brexit shook the European continent to its core.
In politics, it seems, inclusion is out.
Yet in the business sector, inclusion has never been more in. Businesses face more competition than ever thanks to the growing global economy and technological advancements that constantly shift the playing field. Now more than ever, a diverse team of men and women is required to help companies truly reach their entire, global customer base and their true potential. However, while this truth is widely accepted, change is slow to arrive.
Research from Catalyst shows that while women have made some nominal gains, they still see unequal representation on the boards of Fortune 500 companies. The data shows that almost 70 percent of these total F500 boards seats are held by white men. While women and minorities appear on 30.8 percent percent of boards— an all-time high — there is much more work to be done.
Catalyst is at the forefront working for this change. A leading global nonprofit organization, Catalyst has been a pioneering thought leader for more than 50 years, working to advance diversity, inclusion and gender equality at work. To advance this mission Catalyst created the Catalyst CEO Champions For Change, an initiative that brings together more than 40 high-profile CEOs and senior leaders who are visibly supportive of diversity and inclusion by driving it in their organizations. As part of this movement, CEOs are affirming their support for accelerating diversity, inclusion, and gender equality within their organizations. They are also making organizational and personal commitments, such as advancing the representation of women and women of color in senior level positions and on their boards of directors over five years, and actively sponsoring a diverse group of women. These 40+ companies represent more than 9 million employees and more than $1.5 trillion dollars in revenue globally. See the founding list of companies and read the full pledge at catalyst.org/Champions.
Celebrating industry leaders
The Catalyst CEO Champions For Change was launched on March 8 at the annual Catalyst Awards Conference and Dinner, also coinciding with International Women's Day. Three of the most forward thinking companies in the world — 3M, BMO Financial Group and Rockwell Automation— were honored for their efforts in leading the change for diversity and inclusion. In addition to the dinner and awards ceremony, the event also featured #CatalystForChange social media activity and an exhibit hall that celebrated the International Women's Day theme of #BeBoldForChange.
While change is certainly the engine that powers Catalyst's work and the conference it remains a safe space for more than 1,600 leaders in the global business community to gather without judgment and learn how they can rethink old definitions and stereotypes to reject them in favor of inclusion. Because while many aspects of today's world may seem polarizing, there's always room for change. Join us and be the #CatalystForChange.
To learn more about how Catalyst is changing workplaces and changing lives every single day, visit Catalyst.org.