There is a question that on the office walls at Facebook that could help bring greater gender equality across all workforces.
Speaking at the FT Women at the Top event in London, vice president EMEA at Facebook, Nicola Mendelsohn asked the audience: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
She said “it’s the question on the walls of our offices and well you can shrug it off as a ‘cute slogan’ or ‘wall art,’ but it represents something important.”
“It is something important, an aspiration, an attitude to work and life and so I ask people this a lot.”
“The point is here, is that this really represents us [Facebook] as our culture and cultivating [this type of culture’ can help you rise to the top. Supporting women, driving full employment, and [creating] gender equality is good for our country, companies, and for our homes,” she said.
“It is time to tackle the structural and behavioural barriers that prevent women — and an increasing number of men — from occupying senior corporate leadership positions.”
Mendelsohn joined Facebook in 2013 and is currently the co-chair of the Creative Industries Council. She was also the first woman president of the influential advertising industry trade body IPA. She was also the former president of the Women in Advertising and Communications London club (WACL). Her work has earned her the award of Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
In other words, it will make people have harder conversations, ask for more, put yourself forward more, as well as taking more calculated risks and speak up when things are not right.
She pointed out that “we now just have 7 CEOs in the FTSE 100, pretty much the same as we did five years ago.”
But she noted that at Facebook that while it is “one of the only publicly traded companies run by a millennial, which is collaborative, transparent, full of opportunity,” Facebook has room for improvement for gender equality.
“Our numbers are not that great either,” said Mendelsohn.
“67% [of the workforce] are men, and at a senior level 27% of the workforce are women.”
Facebook has actively been addressing gender inequality at the company for years. In 2013, Facebook hired Maxine Williams as its global director of diversity and under her role, Facebook released its annual diversity numbers for the first time in the summer of 2014.
Mendelsohn says that adapting culture changes behaviour and with the right message, it can lead to great equality within the workplace.
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