The short answer? NO. You can be as green as you like, and drop all the required buzzwords in your marketing material, but if your company images on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Co. all just show varying shades of gray, black, or blue three-piece suits and ties, you’ve still got a lot of work on your hands to really catch up with 2021 and beyond.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) came into force on 01JAN16. “Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind,” was the announcement at the time, and many a company adopted the 17 SDGs in its strategic planning, or at least decorated its company homepage with appeasing platitudes in that direction.
No woman, no try…
We are now over a third of the way along on our global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and I was, therefore, all the more frustrated to receive an invitation to an online industry event recently, featuring a 21-strong line-up of speakers, yet with not one single female amongst them. So much for SDG 5: “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.” The topic? Pharmaceuticals. I know plenty of female experts on that topic. How was it, that the event organizers failed to book any? Not even one tick-the-box female? I decided to forgo the event altogether. Aside from the blatant inequality, I’ll be frank: as much as I enjoy listening to a good, clear bass voice, a line-up of 21 of the same spells monotony in capital letters.
Fairer Sex? Pretty unfair, if you ask me.
“On average, 16% of speakers in various cargo conferences these days, are women, and in general, events organized by women have a better gender balance,” were some of the results of a 2021 study that Celine Hourcade, Managing Director of Change Horizon, presented at IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in Dublin last month. She joined with Emma Murray, CEO & Founder of Meantime Communications, to launch Women in Aviation and Logistics (WAL), https://womeninaviationandlogistics.org/, in March of this year. The goal? “To enact and embrace change in a positive, constructive way,” Celine Hourcade outlined. “There is diversity and we can all do something towards it,” she encouraged, requesting delegates to also sign the movement’s pledge: “We believe there is a role for everyone within the aviation and logistics sectors to enact positive change for equality. We call all industry associations, corporates, academia, and individuals to join us in leading the change by signing up to the Women in Aviation and Logistics Pledge.”
Did you know that there is a free speakers’ database?
The Women in Aviation and Logistics website contains a growing database of female experts willing to speak on various industry topics. The database is freely accessible to event organizers and journalists, and can be filtered to the relevant expertise or interest, along with the languages the women offer. This is just one of the benefits that WAL offers. “Gender equality is everyone’s responsibility and everyone can do something: celebrate women’s achievements, invite women to events and working groups, to contribute to white papers and press articles. Give women visibility. Share facts, best practices, and open the dialogue,” Emma Murray urged. It also launched a mentoring program that week, in part to give women the confidence to put themselves forward as speakers, too.
Put your money where your mouth is
WAL is all about positive change rather than finger-pointing – this was underlined more than once at the Dublin meeting. That said, I personally urge you to consider how well your company is adopting and aligning to SDG 5: Gender Equality. Are you promoting equal visibility in your conferences and meetings? And are you applying similar requirements to sponsorship requests that you might already have in place for your service providers when it comes to carbon neutral goals? This particular event that I was invited to, was sponsored by 3 major airlines and 1 very prominent airport. If these companies were to insist on gender equality in the speaker line-up before handing over the cash, we would already be a whole lot further along in our SDG 5 target achievement.
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