Surprisingly enough, whereas 66% of companies have strategies for diversity hiring, only 25% set gender diversity targets.

Moreover, if you look at C-suite positions, female representation plummets to 20%. That’s despite that fact that equal representation in leadership roles offers compelling financial benefits to companies: 53% higher return on equity, 42% return on sales, and as much as 66% higher ROI.

It’s clear: companies intentions might be good, but to truly accomplish equality and diversity in the workplace, they need to take the bull by the horns and turn their plans into concrete action.

Time to Make a Change

Hundreds of business leaders, activists, policy makers, and international diplomats gather together every year at United Nations headquarters in New York to help each other do just that. Working together, they strategize and come up with new initiatives to help facilitate change in the way women are seen in the world, promoting gender diversity.

Webpals Group was honored to participate in the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women just a few days after International Women’s Day. Our CEO, Inbal Lavi, discussed what diversity and equal opportunity mean to Webpals, confirmed Webpals Group’s commitment to fostering equal opportunities in the workplace, and shed light on what can be done to make a real difference.

Here’s our Inbal Lavi giving her speech at the United Nations:

Webpals Group wouldn’t be where it is today without our commitment to spreading equality and diversity, both internally and externally.

“Today, as CEO of a leading high-tech company, I feel responsible for other women who did not or don’t necessarily get equal opportunities along their life journeys. It began at home, it continues at Webpals, and beyond.” – Inbal Lavi.

Here are a few of our strategies we’d like to share. Hopefully, these will help other companies foster gender diversity:

1) Role Models & Gender Diversity

Studies have shown that women are influenced by “exposure to counter-stereotypical female role models.” As role models, such women can encourage other females to make different choices in life.

According to our data, having high female representation, especially at the executive level, can boost talent acquisition efforts. In the words of our Inbal Lavi:

“We have close to 400 workers, half of whom are women. In addition, women make up 67% of the company’s management. [Other women] see equality at the senior level and realize our company has no glass ceiling.”

What’s important is to let women express themselves in the workplace. A fantastic way to do that would be to organize special meetings and panels, featuring female employees. Just recently, we tried to implement the strategy at Webpals.

We had women talking about their life journeys, sharing their thoughts on the gender gap, and discussing what can be done to further the cause of gender diversity.

“When a team member sees she can grow, and her workplace lets her voice be heard, she can make an impact.” – Inbal Lavi.

2) Diversity in Every Sense

Imagine a Chanukkiah and a Christmas tree standing side-by-side – sounds like the beginning of an interesting story, right? Here at Webpals, it’s a reality.

You can see Jews eating lunch with Christians and Muslims; 65-year-olds dancing together with 25-year-olds.

Companies with such a diverse culture can grow their business faster, delivering phenomenal results to their international partners. Why? Because it helps create an ongoing flow of ideas, fosters open dialogue and allows to think globally.

3) Promoting Women During Pregnancy

Maternity leave poses dilemmas for many women. The desire to stay at home with their babies oftentimes means putting career goals on hold. Unfortunately, women’s choice to stay at home and take care of babies leads to wider gender gaps in the workplace.

In that case, an effective strategy to put into action is to promote women during pregnancy. Think about it this way: a new position will be like a new challenge for these women to look forward to.

The strategy has proven to be very effective here at Webpals. At the same time, when a woman goes on maternity leave, we let other employees fill her position, stimulating internal mobility.

4) Closing the Gender Pay Gap

Studies reveal that women have lower salary expectations than men. Aside from that, they are less likely to get a raise. Some tangible actions that Webpals Group has taken to change the gender pay gap is leveling salaries and offering the same salary increase, without gender discrimination. Before bringing a salary offer on the table or giving a raise, we examine salary benchmarks on the market as well as within the company, assess a person’s skills and look at their experience.

It was very inspiring to hear Scott Beth, Intuit’s Chief of Diversity and Inclusion Officer, talk about Intuit’s successes in closing the differences in pay between men and women at the U.N:

“One way we’re doing this is no longer asking candidates for their pay history when they join us.”

What We Learned at the U.N.

Going to the United Nations’ event was more than just about sharing our practices, spreading our vision of gender diversity on a global scale, and helping raise awareness of the gender gap; it was also about learning from others and discovering new techniques to combat gender discrimination in the workplace.

Although all the participants shared inspiring stories and examples, there are a few that stood out to us:

  • Encouraging women – CEO of WePower, Dr. Mazal Shaul, revealed that WePower leverages its resources to, among all, locate, train, and encourage women to dream big and go for public and governmental positions. Aside from that, WePower has done a lot to enact gender-conscious laws.
  • Understanding societal laws and norms – Bathylle Missika, Head of Division of the OECD Development Center, briefed us on traditions that impact women in the workplace such as child marriage, discrimination in the family, restricted physical integrity, restricted access to productive and final resources, and much more. If we look at Israel, for example, 1/8 of the male population believes that a wife should not have a paid job. She reminded us that it’s important to be aware of these gender inequality issues and pay attention to gender norms to be the voice of change, from the bottom up.
  • Fostering equality through a sense of belonging – Scott Beth shared that every six months they conduct an anonymous survey at Intuit, asking their employees: “Do you feel that you belong at Intuit?” 82% of Intuit’s employees feel that they do – and this is equal between men and women.

Going Global

Thanks to our esteemed partners at Parliament 51 that move mountains to foster diversity and achieve gender equality in the workplace, we were able to leverage the event to the fullest, helping make bigger steps towards gender equality and diversity. As Inbal Lavi has put it:

“It was a privilege to join global leaders and promote equality and diversity. After visiting the United Nations and sharing my beliefs with others, I feel like we’re headed towards a brighter future.” – Inbal Lavi

Here’s a selection of pictures for the complete experience. 🙂

Inbal Lavi Scott Beth Mazal Shaul Bathylle Missika at the UN
Inbal Lavi, Scott Beth, Dr. Mazal Shaul, and Bathylle Missika taking bigger steps towards diversity together
Einat Ben Moshe of Deloitte, Sigal Bar-On of Dr. Fisher, Inbal Lavi, CEO of Webpals Group, Daniel Ofek and Liri Halperin, Founder of Parliament 51
Einat Ben Moshe of Deloitte, Sigal Bar-On of Dr. Fisher, Inbal Lavi, CEO of Webpals Group, Daniel Ofek and Liri Halperin, Founders of Parliament 51
Inbal Lavi, Webpals Group's CEO, at the UN
Inbal Lavi, Webpals Group’s CEO, at the UN