Approximately 40 women attended this roundtable discussion to find out why It┬┤s important to use measuring methods with regard to gender equality initiatives. The answer to this question is simple:
"If we can┬┤t measure something, we can┬┤t manage it and if we can┬┤t manage it, we can┬┤t change it."
This was very dramatically and clearly demonstrated at the beginning of the discussion. All the participants were asked to stand up. They were then asked the following questions and asked to sit down again if any of the questions didn┬┤t apply to them: Who works in the private sector?, Who has a leadership position?, Who has children?, Who has a female boss?, Who out of those female bosses have children?, and the most controversial question of all: Who would accept an offer to join the board of directors? Interestingly, at the end of this measuring demonstration 90% of the participants were standing up!
Anke Domscheit stressed that to be able to seriously evaluate a situation, you always need a baseline to compare and targets to reach. You also need deadlines and a vision. An excellent way to remember this is that:
a goal (=target) is a dream (=vision) with a deadline. Ms Domscheit quoted the Voluntary Agreement between Central Associations of the German Economy and the German Government to Promote Gender Equality in the Private Economy saying that, "the success of this agreement cannot be judged by objective methods, since only visions were mentioned (e.g. "reduce the wage gap and increase the number of women in leadership positions"), but neither a measured baseline (status quo) as standard of comparison (e.g. actual % of the current wage gap or actual % of women in top leadership positions), was used nor agreed methods of measuring or a concrete target which has to be reached within the mentioned timeline (e.g. reduce wage gap by 5% within 3 years). However, a report had been issued by the responsible Federal Ministry, evaluating the results positively, although this is not backed by the figures provided in the same report: In a full time job, women still earn 25 % less then men on average (a figure which has not changed in the last few years) and their representation in the top management levels is very low."
To expedite real changes, you have to measure. Measuring forces you to focus and makes you to pay attention. Measuring illuminates your intention and commitment and encourages you to take direct action.
How can you guarantee the success of measuring? The measuring criteria should be easy to communicate and comprehensible. Measures should be meaningful, objective and quantifiable, comparable over time so that changes can be easily observed, comparable across peer groups and should be part of a chain of cause and effect. An accurate baseline is crucial to measure outcomes and results.
There is more than one glass ceiling to break and it is vital as a first step, to make them visible. The next step is to find the corner stones, attack them with appropriate action and then keep track on how these ceilings break over time, one by one ... .