Women's leadership advancement is stuck. We can talk about the business case, strategies and talent initiatives, yet when you really examine internal corporate numbers, women's advancement is still moving too slowly. We need a sense of urgency and the will to commit to change. And neither of these will take place without men joining in the discussion to solve the problem.
Simply stated men never make a connection between advocating for women in the workplace and the impact this will have when their daughter enters the job market.
I believe up to 30% of men in the workplace do want to help but don't know what to do on a daily basis. To help other fathers take meaningful action, I created the Father of a Daughter initiative. It's a simple opt-in program. Men commit to do a minimum of one of ten things (hopefully more) to advance women.
What is the Father of Daughter Initiative?
The Father of a Daughter Initiative is a roadmap for men to make the connection between women at work and their daughters -- and to take action to bring about change for the women in their lives.
And yes the initiative is driving change. To date, dozens of companies from a variety of sectors and sizes, such as Novartis, Bacardi and major divisions of GE and Amdocs as well as a host of other Fortune 500 companies have posted and taken the challenge.
Chief Diversity Officer, Sandra Sims-Williams of Publicis Groupe - a corporation with global digital and media affiliates including Digitas, Razorfish, Leo Burnett, and Saatchi & Saatchi said, "Jeffery Halter's Father of a Daughter initiative is both timely and effective since it offers men actionable ideas to support the advancement of women in the workplace. I've sent the Father of Daughter information to our entire organization to encourage them to take the pledge. I urge other organizations to embrace the initiative and share the pledge."
Why are companies sharing the Father of a Daughter initiative?
Because it demonstrates tangible actions men can take to bring about change in the workplace for their daughters, working spouses and female colleagues. For more details on how the program has inspired action, I reached out to Natalie Runyon, Director, Operations & Strategy, in the Legal business at Thomson Reuters serving as a volunteer leader on the global steering committee for Women@ThomsonReuters, the women's business/employee resource group at the company. Thomson Reuters sees the opportunity to invest in women as a larger part of its business strategy, adding that a more inclusive leadership team benefits the business and bottom line.
One initiative was the spotlight on Financial Services Market Opportunity on Women's Growing Economic Power (via The Wall Street Women's Alliance). In October 2015, Women@ThomsonReuters, started to intentionally focus on engaging men by co-hosting a program on behalf of the Wall Street Women's Alliance, which is a center of excellence for women's business resource groups (BRG) within Financial Services.
Runyon said, "We intentionally targeted our panelists, who mostly were senior men and executive sponsors of their company's women's BRGs, to discuss the market and business opportunity, of women's growing purchasing power in banking and financial services. The event was packed with over 200+ attendees from more than 40 financial services companies in attendance."
A second initiative focused on the We4She campaign for International Women's Day. In March of 2016, Women@ThomsonReuters launched the We4She campaign as a global initiative around International Women's Day and Women's History month in the US. It was generated in the spirit of the UN Women's HeforShe movement. Included in this campaign was an engagement initiative with a We4She pledge and photos open to all 50,000+ colleagues and spotlights on male and female We4She champions. It was one of the most successful global, internal campaigns, with over 36,000 views of campaign content, 49,000 views, likes, rates, and comments on content and 25 We4She champions sharing stories that had over 7500 views.
As companies grapple with strategies to attract and retain talent, it's time for business leaders - namely men, within organizations to step-up to help bring about the much-needed change for their daughters and working spouses