Insights from UN Women WE EMPOWER — G7 Programme

By Hayden Harrison

On Oct. 9th, UN Women hosted a discussion on “Women's Leadership for Gender Equality" as part of the WE EMPOWER — G7 Programme, to highlight the importance of women’s leadership and decision-making in society and the positive impact of gender parity on boards in the context of the changing world of work.

Sam Mazloum, a Mastercard vice president for public affairs (office of the vice chair, Ann Cairns) outlined the successes of the 30% Club (of which Cairns is global chair) to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels. “Ten years ago [when the 30% Club was established], there were less than 10% women directors on the FTSE 350; just last month we hit 33%.”

A core pillar of these efforts has been chairmen and CEOs working together to drive change from the top of these organisations, but support from governments and investor groups has been especially powerful, he says. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do, but there’s also an undeniably compelling business case: According to a study of 353 Fortune 500 companies, the companies with the best financial performance had more women in their top management teams than lower performing companies.

Later, Mazloum shared detail of the work that Mastercard is doing to advance gender equality within its own organisation, including mentoring programmes, returnships, our commitment to equal pay, and resource groups to support women’s leadership.

Hayden Harrison, Storytelling Specialist, Mastercard

Hayden writes and creates stories for Vocalink and Mastercard, and also curates our topics.