Unlocking Gender Equality in Leadership

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Insights from Ebba Öhlund, Treasurer at CEC – European Managers

In her recent speech at the Jan 15 conference, Ebba Öhlund, Treasurer at CEC – European Managers, shed light on the imperative of embracing gender equality in leadership. She began by acknowledging the growing awareness of the significance of a gender perspective in leadership, management, and policies across the EU. Despite progress in the representation of women in leadership roles, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the possibility of setbacks, prompting a reevaluation of our understanding of gender equality.

Öhlund emphasized the pressing need to address the gender gap in leadership positions, particularly in sectors like STEM. CEC has advocated for a binding gender quota at the EU level, with the EU set to introduce a quota of 40% for women on boards by 2026. However, the gender gap extends beyond leadership roles to encompass experiences of violence, harassment, pensions, pay, and wealth.

The case for gender equality is not only a matter of social justice but also a powerful economic argument. Öhlund underscored the role of leadership in dismantling entrenched gender norms and promoting diversity in leadership styles. She highlighted the importance of showcasing different leadership models and fostering inclusive workplaces where diverse perspectives are valued.

Drawing on the experience of CEC members, Öhlund emphasized the importance of alliances and networks of women in sharing experiences and supporting each other. She called for a shift in the narrative around leadership, creating communities of practice where female leadership traits are cultivated and celebrated.

If you want to read her speech, find it here