Diversity works

12 Jun

Good news for ambitious women: the Dutch senate finally passed a bill that should stimulate companies to appoint at least 30 % women in board room positions. It’s about time, since my country is lagging behind when it comes to women in positions of power. Last year, only 8,1% of all board members were women, a mere 0,5% more than in 2009.

A few years ago, Holland could count on a top-10 position in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap report. This year, we are number 17, after countries like Lesotho and the Philippines. Still, the Dutch government, which presented its Emancipation policy last week, thinks we serve as a global example and should use that position to push women’s rights in the Global South.

Exporting women’s rights, while not doing such an amazing job at home.. Smells like hypocracy!
Here’s another one: while government is now urging companies to appoint at least 30% women on their boards, government itself is not even reaching 20%, with only 3 female ministers and one female secretary of state, and barely 20% female mayors.

Yet, the Dutch do not seem to care that much. Only one third of the population is in favor of quota for women. I used to be against quota myself. Being appointed on the basis of your sex rather than your capabilities was not an alluring prospect. But I changed my mind. In spite of the fact that more and more girls are graduating from college and a growing number of women are entering the labor market, women are still marginally represented at the top. Apparently, it takes more to move the old boys from their seats.

Last week, Jamila Aanzi and I presented our essay “Diversity 2.0” at the book launch of “Dappere Nieuwe Wereld” (Brave New World), a collection of essays by young thinkers. In our essay, we argue that diversity should be a top priority in business, politics, education and media. Not because of quota, or because it sounds good, but because it works. Diverse teams perform bettter, are better equipped to solve problems and are more likely to be able to empathise with a wide range of clients.

Diversity, it’s like football. “You only see it when you get it” as Dutch football guru Johan Cruijff once said. Cause let’s be honest: which coach would bring out a team of eleven left-legged strikers?

One Response to “Diversity works”

  1. mahaexpresions June 15, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    women and power at politics not easy but it is for better future

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