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Empowering Women at Work

Why Businesses Need to Empower Women in 2024 and Beyond


Our panel of experts shared their thoughts on the importance of businesses putting an emphasis on diverse workplaces —  particularly ones that put women in a position to succeed — and how women can get ahead in industries that have traditionally been dominated by men.

Joachim Braun

Division President, ABB Process Industries

Why should diversity and inclusion be a priority for companies in 2024?

ABB and other companies must challenge themselves to come out of their comfort zone. Only then will they open themselves up to the myriad positive advantages of diversity, and a range of perspectives, thought processes, and ways of working that will mean better ideas for evolving businesses. Inclusion has its own category, because it is about actions and behaviour that we want to see from colleagues and ourselves — what can we do to make life and work better for somebody else?

Through our Unstoppable campaign, ABB has elevated the power of women in the workplace. We have done this because it speaks to our purpose and integrity. It is not only the right thing to do but is also increasingly expected from customers, other stakeholders, and the wider world.

How can employers ensure their female employees are supported in the workplace?

Part of the puzzle is that every company must create its own role models for others coming through. Talented women entering the workforce must see that there is a path for them. Employers want to attract the best people, and we know from many studies that diverse workplaces are more successful at every level; the factory floor, the office, the c-suite.

Diversity ensures the opinions of people from different backgrounds have a voice and are heard. Employers hold the key to this because they can set the tone, define the targets, and show the attitudes that mean equal representation becomes a reality.

Why is women’s empowerment and leadership development critical for companies across the world?

Out of the many industries ABB serves, there is no widespread equal representation of women. But, there are examples of inspiring trailblazers in every industry. It is up to companies large, medium, and small to champion our peers and bring these positive examples to the fore. By working together on this topic, we can work to push through barriers that have been in place for decades around the world, making women visible in industries like mining, pulp and paper, and steelmaking.

Leaders must show that they are elevating women, promoting women, and taking all the steps they can to create balance within their organizations. As a senior leader and a European man, I do realize that I am occupying an influential seat that could belong to someone else. I therefore see it as my responsibility to set the agenda, make sure we’re ambitious in our goals, and be part of the long-term solution.

Barbara Corcoran

Founder, The Corcoran Group

What advice do you have for women who are already in the business field, but are looking to advance their careers and seek leadership positions?

Ask for what you want and look to take on more responsibility; raise your hand. Then you can ask for the money you deserve.

Don’t think for a minute that being a woman in a man’s world is a disadvantage. The more men there are in your field, the easier it is to be noticed. If people underestimate you, you have the huge advantage and the freedom to creep up and bite them from behind.

When you interview for a job, always quote your pay 10-15% higher than what you really want, and know that the guy also applying is quoting a higher number, too.

Arianna Huffington

Founder, Thrive Global

Why is company culture so important for employee well-being?

It’s important because we now know an enormous amount about how stress and burnout affect us, both at home and at work. The science is clear that when we prioritize our well-being, we’re more creative, productive, and resilient, and we make better decisions. Well-being isn’t just a perk, it’s a competitive advantage. And there’s a direct connection between the health of a company’s bottom line and the health and well-being of every company’s most important resource: its people.

So, in the same way well-being boosts our immune system, culture serves as a company’s immune system, giving it the resilience to meet inevitable challenges.

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