Recently, the World Economic Forum published its 2017 Global Gender Gap Report. Its findings were discouraging. According to the report, gender parity is more than 200 years away in the global workplace. As we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), I’m taking a moment to pause and reflect on the evolving role of women in the workforce and to consider the challenging road ahead. I believe that there has never been a more important time to embrace this year’s IWD theme, #PressforProgress, and to consider what each of us can do to drive meaningful change and encourage important conversations in our workplaces and teams.
Many global leaders at Kellogg have an opportunity to serve as an executive sponsor of a Business Employee Resource Group (BERG). A few years ago, I raised my hand and asked to serve as Global Sponsor of the Women of Kellogg (WOK). This group is the company’s largest business/employee resource group, and is active in every Kellogg region around the world. Leading this group is important to me, because its mission is to be an organization where all women learn, grow, lead and succeed.
I have always been proud of Kellogg’s long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equity. Our founder, W.K. Kellogg, was dedicated to creating an environment where everyone is empowered to bring their most creative thinking, do their best work and achieve their full potential. His legacy lives on at the company today, and the work of WOK, and our other business/employee resource groups, ensures that his vision continues to have a positive impact on our workplace.
As the sponsor of WOK, I help create an environment where women are encouraged to bring their best selves to work each day. I’ve seen the value WOK brings to women – and men - at Kellogg. The organization uses education, conversation and access to opportunities to empower women and men to advocate for gender equity in the workplace – and in the world. It’s this spirit that enables individual success, collective advancement and business improvement, creating a win for everyone.
WOK isn’t just good for its members—it’s good for business too.
Our marketers understand that women represent a significant amount of buying power. Kellogg is a member of the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE)’s #SeeHer, a U.S. industry movement to increase accurate portrayals of women and girls in advertising and media by 20 percent by 2020. At Kellogg, we know that women are still working to achieve equity and equal opportunity in the workplace. With this in mind, WOK has been asked to provide feedback on product ideas and marketing campaigns, prior to program launch. This environment allows female employees to engage, and influence the business from a consumer perspective, and allows the organization to leverage the voice of its most important consumers: women.
Gender equity won’t happen overnight. But, each of us has the opportunity to use our voice, participate in important conversations and encourage our teams, colleagues and friends to press for progress. Each one of us can be a leader in this effort. And from my perspective, it might just be the most rewarding work of your career.