The 2010 Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society is a high profile annual conference that assembles the crème de la crème of the business, media, and non-profit worlds for a common goal: the promotion of gender equality around the world. The conference was created by French entrepreneur Aude de Thuin in 2005 (see her picture below).
What makes this conference truly unique is the fact that words almost immediately translate into action. Some of the world’s most powerful CEOs (from Coca Cola, to Ernst & Young, Sanofi-Aventis and Euro RSCG) are here to discuss ways to implement gender diversity in their companies, and to affirm their commitment to the promotion of women to the top ranks of management.
At a press conference last night, 20 CEOs – brought together by Ernst & Young – formally announced their commitment to gender equality in their respective companies, with specific strategies to achieve it.
The CEOs identified six key points in their plan of action:
1) Building women’s advancement into the strategy of the company operations, changing the workplace culture
2) Requiring diverse candidates as a priority
3) Holding themselves accountable for progress, with specific targets and deadlines
4) Building a “CEO Champion network”
5) Creating a catalog of best practices and engaging in cross-company mentoring of talented women
6) Developing strategies to ameliorate work-life balance for both men and women
The 20 CEOs – whom Ernst & Young refers to “CEO Champions” – will be back in Deauville for the next edition of the Women’s Forum a year from now, to report back on the progress of their initiative.