I grew up in a fairly traditional home with old fashioned gender stereotypes. My dad worked long hours while he was building up his business. Mum worked long hours too, but on top of it she had to come back home and do all the cooking, cleaning and washing as well as getting me and my sister ready for school for the next day. No mean feat as any working mother will know. I am not trying to denigrate my dad. Not at all. He worked incredibly hard 15 hours a day and when it came to household chores, he simply didn’t know any better. He was just raised like that. So was my mum.
If it wasn’t for my parents’ hard work and dedication, I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I do today. I am the Executive Director at Glad Group, an integrated property services company that employs over 2000 people. A big responsibility and something I don’t take lightly.
What I also take extremely seriously is gender equality.
Whether you are male, female, or however you identify yourself, I believe you should have the same rights as everybody else.
I want to make sure that our employees work in an environment that is free from harassment, bullying and stereotyping and this means that I must lead by example. As my dad likes to say “the fish stinks from the head”.
I will always be grateful to my mum for her tireless contributions but I want to actively help things change. I have a son and I will work very hard to make sure he knows that he will be responsible for making equal contributions in his household. To believe that women are his equals both in and outside of work. To recognise people for their skills, not their gender and to be compelled to speak out when witnessing discrimination.
I also want to make sure that any daughter of mine isn’t expected to take on the burden of a household alone. That she can become the CEO of the company of her dreams if she so desires and that she is paid the same as any man who may hold that position.
Unfortunately today the statistics are shocking and stacked against her: more than 95% of Fortune 500 CEOs are men; 40% of agricultural workers are women but less than 20% of those women own land; violence against women–at home, on university campuses, and in the workplace–continues and is regularly ignored. I find this very disturbing and work hard to play a role in changing it.
My wife, Ivana also works at Glad Group and is a tireless advocate for women’s rights. Both her and I are working together to make sure that we are building a better, more equal future for our children and all future generations.
What are we doing?
Well, of course this is Glad Group’s first annual Gender Equality Awareness Week. We are also actively encouraging sponsorship and mentoring of women in our workplace. People who have sponsors are 23% more likely to advance their careers, according to research from the centre for talent innovation. Importantly, we are encouraging men to become involved. As men we must first acknowledge that there is a problem and then take an active role in doing something about it.
I am taking the pledge today! Will you join me?