Often any decision, even the wrong decision, is better than no decision.
I started off by thinking I was going to comment on a report I read earlier this week on the subject of strikes in Britain and the demands being made by the unions for a fairer distribution of corporate profits.That would have led to a discussion on the wealth gap. Then I got sidetracked by a conversation I had on what has happened to women in the recent past. Not just the fact that we were anticipating a more prominent showing by Women Leaders - now Clinton has faded, while Merkel and May are both under pressure, but the issues go deeper than that. So, a possible opportunity for a rant there - or should I say a series of thoughts. But then I got sent an interesting YouTube clip which deals with a subject I am hugely interested in - millenials. And this one was a clip - 20 minutes of it - that touched on a variety of topics that made me feel unsettled, troubled, somehow having failed, and yet in agreement ... and wondering what it all means. Oh boy! Where was I to start?
Decision time! Women first!!
Surely, any right thinking person in the modern era has to understand the enormous benefits that women bring to our society. It doesn't matter whether it is social or business; technology, finance, design or shipbuilding.
There are negative issues surrounding the beliefs and practices in some cultures over the role of women but, and I accept this is a controversial statement, if those people want to practice such beliefs then they should find an environment in which they can do so and not try to impose their culture on others. That, by the way, works both ways and if you find yourself in a country where greater attention is paid to modesty then don't think as a westerner, for example, that because what you do in your own country is acceptable it should be okay anywhere else.
I am a great believer in diversity in general, and also in getting the right person for the job - irrespective of gender, ethnicity or other any persuasion. I am also not generally in favour of having quota systems. But I am not at all convinced that we provide the necessary training or create the right opportunities for women to prepare them for roles.
There are various initiatives in a number of countries whereby corporations are either encouraged or required to have a certain number of women on their Boards. This works to a degree, but too often the ratio of male:female workers in senior positions is heavily skewed in favour of the males. This means that the pool of available women becomes limited and surely we should not be focusing just on Board positions but asking companies why they don't have more senior women in their corporate structure?
I am due to moderate a panel at a conference in a week or so and I was looking at the list of speakers and panellists. Frankly, I was shocked at the lack of women speakers, less than 10%, and asked the organisers for a comment. The response was that they had asked a number of high profile women speakers but most had declined. I'm afraid this goes back to an earlier comment. There are so few women in senior positions that the pool is small and they are therefore much in demand. But do you always need to have the very top names - and nothing else will do? There are many highly articulate, talented women out there who just need some exposure, and in my view we are letting them down.
I said earlier on that I was against quotas, and I am. I came from an era where business was done based on principles of good behaviour and trust. This subsequently became eroded to the extent that rules and regulations had to be imposed. Perhaps we do need to something similar to make companies wake up to the value of women.
In one or two of the Middle Eastern countries with which I am involved, there are quotas for localisation. These are set not just on an overall basis but on a layered basis - level by level.
Maybe it's worth a thought.