I was recently asked, does gender diversity add value and why is this important? Here’s my response.
I have no doubt that gender diversity adds value. The fact that gender diversity (and cultural diversity) have finally been extracted from the shadows of a male-dominated society and given the recognition they deserve, as a foundation of progressive thinking, is testimony to that. We only need to look around the world to see the impacts of previous male-dominated decision making.
But I want to be clear, it is not about which gender is superior. This is simply not an argument. Each brings a strength, an identity, a way in which decisions are made and business is undertaken. Like hot and cold, the sun and moon, masculine and feminine energies bring balance to the whole. It is recognising that each member brings their own approach, their own set of values and beliefs. It is through strong diversity with a united vision that magic can really happen.
The courage to bring core values, our motivators, to the governance setting can really break down barriers and open new ways of achieving success. The following excerpt from my 2015 International Women’s Day Speech sums it up:
“We need to celebrate this diversity between the sexes rather than trying to control and manipulate it to one’s own end. As a people, this is where our strength will come from; our unity and healing. And we do live in a time where we need to heal; individually and collectively. We need to learn to forgive and make peace. We must be brave and expect better, want for more, fly the flag of freedom, respect, grace and prosperity. And it all starts with us … you and me.
Women, I believe, play a significant role in bringing about this change. Although often perceived as the physically weaker sex, we are strong of heart, carry great wisdom and can endure and grow from many trials and tribulations. So, I firmly believe in the power of unleashing women’s potential. I firmly believe that we have some way to go to achieve balance and that it will take a change of mind-set by both men and women.
I firmly believe that we need to do this – our world depends on it. Equality or balance is the right thing, the only thing that will bring true prosperity to human kind.”
At the end of the day, it’s about respect, each of us recognising and valuing the strength and integrity of another. It is about truth and the responsibility each of us must take in walking our truth and holding ourselves accountable. But most importantly it is about aroha and the courage this brings. If we hold this at our heart, our actions, our decisions, should be ones that encompass all our people and our place.