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Deloitte Southern Africa, India, and Middle East, and DTTL CEO Barry Salzberg are among the diversity and inclusion case studies spotlighted in this report commissioned by Forbes Insights and conducted by Oxford Economics. A ranking of employee diversity in 50 global economies, 14 industrial sectors, and nine occupations, this groundbreaking report includes gender and ethnic diversity data for more than 500 occupations and 300 sectors in the U.S. and the U.K.


Harnessing the gender dividend

The Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) and the American Chamber of Commerce in France launched this report on the business case for women's economic empowerment entitled: Putting ALL our Minds to Work: Harnessing the Gender Dividend. This report provides a detailed business perspective from across business and industry sectors and geographies on an important economic growth issue, the gender dividend.

As Governments continue to seek the right combination of policies to create jobs, boost demand, and spur economic growth, women's economic empowerment provides a pathway to growth. There is a clear gender dividend for business, government, and society. Realizing this return, however, needs accountability and business, government, and community working collaboratively, with a sense of urgency.

According to the report, women represent almost 60 percent of university graduates in the U.S. and Europe. According to a Deloitte study1, globally women either make up or influence up to 80 percent of buying decisions.

Despite best efforts, progress in moving the needle to not only having more women in senior leadership positions but also considered in strategic business decision making, has been slow.

The report holds good news:

1.     There is an undeniable business and economic case in promoting, attracting, and retaining female talent in business. The statistics are telling and high performing businesses are generating a gender dividend.

2.     Businesses worldwide see first-hand that the bottom end of the pipeline is bulging with better educated and enthusiastic women.

3.     There are a number of successful programs highlighted in the report that support and promote change in advancing women's leadership opportunities within business.

o    Some are related to increasing the number of women on boards.

o    Some are there to further advance women throughout their career.

o    Others seek to use pressure from the investor community to speed up the process of gaining the financial benefits of diversity.

All are based on the recognition that there is a gender dividend to be earned.

There is no single approach, and no single factor is sufficient to make a difference. Having more women throughout the talent "pipeline" requires action from outside directors, company top leadership, and from all management levels. Together they should devise and implement a toolkit of supporting policy and concerted actions at every juncture of the corporate career route.

Integrated and coherent public policy frameworks, which promote and support women's economic empowerment and advancement in the workplace, are also fundamental to successful gender diversity initiatives in companies. The public policy section of the report identifies framework conditions that business needs to promote and support the advancement of women in the workplace.

There is an old saying: "What gets measured gets done."  This is where the work of the OECD is critical. Through its Gender Initiative, the OECD will fill an important gap in measuring progress and deepening the understanding of gender diversity impacts on economic growth.

The report was formally presented to the OECD 2012 Annual Ministerial Council Meeting as a contribution to the OECD Gender Initiative. Deloitte (DTTL and member firms) proudly supports BIAC's ongoing engagement in the OECD gender initiative project and the development of this Report.

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