Gender Is the Trojan Horse of Diversity

Diversity needs to be built on common values, says Mars global food boss Fiona Dawson
Mar 7, 2018 8:00 AM ET

By Fiona Dawson

I have been in business now for 30 years, and have always believed that women represent an incredibly powerful yet still untapped resource. The tragedy is that there is no shortage of talent or ambition among women in the workplace.  All too often however, women’s career progression can come to a standstill, the most notable being when they reach middle management.

If we want to unblock our talent pipelines, we need stronger interventions at a business enterprise level to change workplaces and organisational cultures, and these changes must be led from the top. 

Mars partnered with the UK Women’s Business Council last year to create ‘The Pipeline Effect’, a toolkit for enabling gender parity beyond middle management. In it we identify obstacles to women’s progress mid-career, of which a lack of role models was one. There is an important need for more female role models of all ages and levels who are approachable and relatable.  We must have role models who are honest about their own their experiences and how they manage their trade-offs, as opposed to being portrayed as ‘superwomen’ who ‘have it all.’ 

I’m thrilled that this month Mars is showcasing positive role models by shining a spotlight on some of our women in STEM. These amazing women are demonstrating first hand that it’s possible to have successful careers in areas which are traditionally underrepresented.

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