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Deloitte: Companies need policies, targets and quotas to support diversity on boards

Deloitte survey: 49% of business leaders believe that innovation and idea generation top outcomes from inclusive leadership


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26 March 2013– According to Deloitte’s fifth annual International Women’s Day (IWD) webcast survey, innovation and idea generation are the most significant  advantages to organizations that embrace inclusive leadership to improve gender diversity (49 percent of respondents), followed by increased employee engagement (28 percent), and greater retention and advancement of women (15 percent).

The survey of 720 business leaders from 42 countries across the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the Americas explored the concept of inclusive leadership – behaviors, policies and practices designed to successfully manage diversity and allow for greater inclusion - and its impact on improved gender equality and organizational performance.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said inclusive leadership is a key area of focus for their organization.  However, 41 percent felt the main barrier to inclusive leadership was a failure by organizations to recognize the return on investment from having a diverse workforce.

Rana Ghandour Salhab, Talent and Communications partner at Deloitte Middle East commented: “The survey respondents indicated that companies that recognize the importance of gender diversity will reap the rewards. Traditional approaches to diversity are getting women in the door and fostering retention and development, but we are still not seeing women advance to leadership positions quickly enough.

“Inclusion is a critical element required to better empower and advance women to top-level positions in the private and public sectors. In the Middle East, these transformations are just getting started, and there is a lot more to be done. It is important to involve men in the conversation, and continually challenge long-held assumptions and traditional ways of working in order to accelerate progress. Businesses simply will not be able to remain competitive and innovative if they do not employ a diverse workforce.”

Women in the boardroom report 

In addition, Deloitte released the third edition of the "Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective,” report, which outlined that organizations would benefit from increased participation from shareholders on gender diversity discussions in the boardroom.

The report examined initiatives in 25 countries aimed at increasing the number of women in boardroom positions around the world, highlighting a variety of approaches to support diversity on boards, including requiring more disclosure on diversity policies, setting targets, and implementing quotas. The report found a large discrepancy among countries regarding the most efficient way to increase the number of women occupying boardroom positions.

International Women’s Day 

Deloitte has long championed International Women’s Day (IWD) in the Middle East, using it as a platform to raise awareness both within the firm and amongst external communities on women empowerment and advancement.  During the March 4 to 10 week, Deloitte ME promoted women advancement as well as leveraged the 2013 Deloitte IWD webcast by creating a two-way engaging social media campaign. .On the Deloitte Middle East Facebook page, women leaders and employees at the firm shared their stories on career challenges, advancement, achievements, family and community work. In addition, the Deloitte Middle East Matters blog hosted Deloitte women leaders in the Middle East region who authored blogs to share their views and experiences on women advancement.  These included:

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