Like many businesses on Friday 8th March, we held a breakfast event to celebrate International Women’s Day. We were fortunate to have three inspirational entrepreneurs visit us at Geometry and share their stories with us: Karen Stenning – co-founder of InvestHER; Jessie Kruger – founder of Ethos and LUXTRA; Charlotte Instone – Founder of Know the Origin.
Our CEO Michelle Whelan uncovered three startling facts for the panel discussion: only two percent of all Venture Capitalists are women. And less that three percent of venture funding goes to start-ups led by women. Secondly, fewer than one in seven partners at hedge funds and private equity firms are women. Thirdly, just fifteen of the 800 bank CEOs around the world are female.
At Geometry UK, Michelle observes, we are better than the financial sector, but still have some work to do: Eighty percent of our leadership team is female, however just 25% of our creative leadership is female.
In a recent LinkedIn piece, Michelle writes that businesses need gender balance to reflect their customer base, to evolve their thinking and behaviours - and ultimately to outperform the competition.
The much-quoted Chief Executive of Sodexo, Michel Landel, talks about gender balance as being much more than a “women’s issue”. Gender balance at Sodexo is about providing all employees with the same opportunities to develop their careers. Tapping into the full potential of women and men leads to a stronger, more innovative and better performing business.
“I have been very lucky in my professional life, having had fantastic male and female mentors who have helped guide me through my career. I have never had to face some of the severe challenges that I heard our three guest speakers talk about, for example, only ever encountering men in every financial conversation from banks to venture capitalists. Or being undermined by men who did not support or find it credible that a 26-year-old could run a successful business.
We are proudly taking part in Diageo’s #CreativeComeback scheme. Backed by the UK Government Equalities Office, the scheme is designed to support women in the UK creative industries as they return to work after a career break of at least 12 months. The ultimate aim is to place female art directors, producers, copywriters, data analysts, designers and concept creators back into work.
And more still needs to be done to balance the number of men and women across industries.
So, following #IWD2019 and #BalanceforBetter, my commitment is to strive for a statistically and culturally better work place gender balance, enabling every employee to have the same opportunities. And to help others by putting myself in places where I can actively champion change."