With ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier as its champion, WBW was established by ICC secretariat staff stemming from their convictions that the world business organization would be even more authoritative as the voice of global business if its internal policies, leadership, and representative bodies better reflected the gender diversity of the business and professional world today.
“The timeliness and effectiveness of the initiative in raising awareness of the importance of equality at ICC have been evident, with positive signs of change already emerging,” said Mr Carrier. “ICC remains committed to ensuring the world business organization is a truly representative voice of business.”
In its first year WBW set up working groups to consider ways to address gender balance and equality at ICC headquarters and throughout its representative bodies made up of external appointees and experts. One group examining internal diversity developed enterprising proposals to bring about improvements through management practices that aim to eliminate barriers to equal treatment and support career development and advancement to leadership. Several proposals have already been integrated into an ICC plan of action for equality while further work is in the pipeline to help the organization convert other ideas into concrete actions.
Some of the most significant internal changes at ICC over the past year include the appointment of two women to the ICC Executive Board – with another nomination pending – and the implementation of a classification grid and equality policy targets.
The 2013 plan of action for equality includes other important measures such as more flexible working hours for employees who may need them.
“We are a young initiative with still much work to be done but the initiative has been a catalyst. It has also generated some very good ideas that we have to promote and see implemented,” said Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud ICC Senior Policy Manager who chairs the Steering Committee of the WBW initiative. “Already, as a result of our efforts, recruitment experts and executives at ICC are becoming more sensitized to the importance of ensuring qualified women candidates are identified and put forward for consideration wherever they are underrepresented.”
A full celebratory breakfast for WBW’s anniversary will be held at ICC headquarters on 18 March. Virginie Gervais-Bazin, one of the team of six who created Alcatel-Lucent’s employee network StrongHer will be speaking to the group. Ms Gervais-Bazin will explain the impact of the initiative and how in just two years they have managed to create a network that reaches more than 900 employees in 40 countries including US, India and China.