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Protagonist Brands: Developing a Genuine Gender Equality Narrative

Gender equality is more than just a global goal the UN sets; it represents a transformative social perspective.


By Maria Brasil, Founder at Essence Branding. TEDx Speaker

Protagonist Brands: Developing a Genuine Gender Equality Narrative

When discussing women in strategic positions within organizations, we are also talking about results – a language the market understands very well. According to the UN, companies with female leaders achieve up to 20% better results. A report analyzing over 70,000 companies in 13 countries concluded that greater gender diversity increases productivity, profitability, creativity, and innovation. Furthermore, 57% of respondents reported improvements in a company’s reputation.

The Director of the Employers’ Activities Department of the ILO, Deborah France-Massin, emphasizes that gender balance should be a fundamental issue for companies, not solely a matter of human resources. Many businesses that embrace diversity have experienced revenue growth ranging from 10% to 15%. These findings capture the market’s attention by highlighting the importance of profitability.

During the recent health crisis affecting businesses worldwide, women in leadership demonstrated greater efficiency and achieved more positive results. They significantly contributed to employee engagement by utilizing interpersonal skills such as collaboration, teamwork, and motivation. These socio-emotional skills provide organizations with tools that improve relationships, establish trust, and minimize conflicts. The “Diversity Matters” survey conducted by McKinsey highlights several consequences of diversity, including more significant talent attraction, customer focus, team satisfaction, and assertiveness in decision-making.

The benefits of embracing diversity extend beyond leadership, culture, engagement, and interpersonal relationships. Companies that embrace various forms of diversity tend to be more innovative. Diverse perspectives burst the bubble of conventional thinking, foster innovation, and generate growth. Accenture’s study “Getting to Equal 2019: Creating a Culture That Drives Innovation” reveals that companies with higher levels of diversity have a 600% higher innovation culture than those with low variety.

The market, once aware of these advantages, begins to transform. However, catapulting women into positions of power without adequately preparing them or the surrounding environment for the challenges ahead is ineffective. In addition to training and empowering women, fostering a respectful and inclusive atmosphere for everyone is crucial.

Brands must be attentive to this entire context. Acknowledging women’s achievements extends beyond mere campaigns for positioning; they represent an opportunity for collective (re)learning. It is about influencing women and stakeholders to treat other women with respect and support and observing our behaviors to ensure they align with current societal needs and expectations.

With each person learning at their own pace and in their unique way, progress and evolution are constant. Brands must remain alert to this evolving landscape. It is not enough to be aware of the benefits of gender diversity; they must actively promote and embrace it. Brands that prioritize diversity and create inclusive environments can reap the rewards. They attract top talent, demonstrate customer focus, enhance team satisfaction, and make more assertive decisions. Furthermore, these brands foster innovation and drive a culture that encourages creativity.

However, brands must understand that embracing gender equality must go beyond mere lip service. In an era where authenticity and transparency matter significantly to consumers, brands must avoid falling into the “social washing” trap – superficially promoting diversity and inclusion without truly embodying these values. Consumers today are more discerning and expect brands to take real action.

A genuine commitment to gender equality requires brands to go beyond rhetoric and implement tangible policies and practices that create equal opportunities for women in leadership positions. It involves ensuring equal access to training and development opportunities and establishing inclusive hiring processes. Brands must also foster a culture that values diverse perspectives, promotes work-life balance, and addresses women’s unique challenges in the workplace.

By championing gender diversity sincerely and meaningfully, brands can become catalysts for societal change. They have the power to shape perceptions, challenge stereotypes, and inspire positive action. Brands that genuinely embrace gender equality not only benefit from improved outcomes but also contribute to a more equitable and innovative future.

Embracing diversity is a moral imperative and a strategic business decision that drives sustainable growth and success. By prioritizing gender equality and fostering inclusive environments, brands can build stronger relationships with consumers, attract and retain top talent, and enhance their overall reputation. Moreover, brands have the opportunity to create a positive impact on society by becoming advocates for gender equality, promoting social progress, and setting an example for others to follow.

In conclusion, developing women as leaders for the new economy yields remarkable results. Achieving gender equality in organizations enhances productivity, profitability, creativity, and innovation. Women bring valuable perspectives and skills that positively impact decision-making, employee engagement, and overall organizational performance. Brands must be mindful of this context and actively promote diversity and inclusion. However, it is crucial for brands to ensure that their commitment to gender equality is authentic and not just a superficial facade. By embodying genuine gender equality values, brands can create a lasting impact and inspire positive societal change.

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