International Women’s Day 2023: Firms must do more than virtue signalling

Ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th, Beverley Yeomans (pictured), chief operating and diversity officer at deVere Group, has called on companies to do more than just engage in virtue-signalling and commit to taking concrete measures to improve gender equality in the workplace.

Yeomans, whose firm is one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management, and fintech organisations, has said that last year, many companies rushed to delete their virtue-signalling social media posts in real-time when challenged about their hypocrisy.

In her opinion, companies should be promoting the core values of IWD on social media platforms, but they cannot just do this without supporting the cause in a meaningful way. Their public displays of advocacy, without actually doing anything to support the cause in a meaningful way, is unhelpful, she said.

She emphasised that March 8th is an essential opportunity for companies to celebrate women’s achievements and talents and to act themselves on the issue of gender equality.

Yeomans further commented: “Companies must take measurable steps to improve gender equality in the workplace. This means implementing real policies, such as equal pay, flexible working, mentoring programmes, and unconscious bias training. They must also ensure that there are female representatives at senior levels and on their boards.”

Gender diversity is not only a moral obligation but also an economic necessity, she added. “Multiple studies have shown that companies with diverse teams are more innovative, productive, and ultimately, more profitable. As such, promoting gender equality in the workplace must be a priority for all businesses, all year round, not just on March 8th.”