In celebration of International Women's Day, today's post comes from guest blogger Sarah Banks, staff consultant in the Supply Chain Technologies practice.
Today is International Women’s Day and we are taking time to remember and celebrate the actions from women past and present. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “#beboldforchange” and we are proud to dive into this topic since it is one of Capgemini’s core values.
There are more men on boards of S&P 1500 companies with the names John, Robert, William, or James than there are women in total. 
A study conducted by the Harvard Business School (HBS) surveyed 25,000 of their graduates. The survey found that while men and women share similar levels of ambition, men were significantly more likely to actually hold senior management level positions and direct reports. As a follow up to this survey, the HBS conducted in depth interviews with senior leaders (both men and women) in several Fortune 500 companies. They found that to have effective gender inclusive leadership, the management team used their authority to influence workplace culture towards gender equality. They also thought of gender inclusiveness as a way to effectively manage talent instead of an additional aspect of talent management.  These leaders are taking bold steps to change the workplace culture and be effective leaders within their organization and beyond.
We all have the power to be bold and to be the change.
Effective gender inclusivity does not have to be at the senior management level. We all have the ability and opportunity to change the culture around us to be gender inclusive and be champions for women in the workplace. Whether the action is big or small, you too can #beboldforchange.
We asked some members of Women LEAD how they embody boldness in everyday life. The below are just a few examples we’ve received from our wonderful colleagues:
Rachel Hargrove is a staff consultant in the Microsoft practice based out of the Chicago office.
“I was having drinks with a male CTO of a startup technology company, and he started talking about how he doesn’t like working with women. I really didn’t want to argue with him so I let him explain why he felt that way. He ended up stereotyping women pretty harshly, saying that ‘most women should only work in certain positions because they tend to be more emotional.’ I decided to let him know that he was gender stereotyping, and it wasn’t okay to do that, especially since his leadership sets a precedence for how his employees behave.”
Melissa Jeng is a Senior Consultant based out of our New York office. She has been with Capgemini for four and a half years.
“One action I find very bold is men championing women or supporting gender diversity. This can be in the form of mentorship, staffing their teams with equal numbers of men and women, or even just providing a few positive words on a promotion roundtable. Advocating other men is certainly a more popular idea and may have a greater return in the future, so it requires boldness for these men to go against the grain and support someone who may be very fundamentally different from them. By supporting women, they are creating a culture that supports equity and eventually shifts the balance in gender diversity. I see this boldness often in our company and truly truly appreciate all the males who have mentored or supported me in my career. To all those men out there who are supporting women, you rock! Thank you for being our allies.”
Deepika Mamnani is a Senior Director in our Financial Services sector based out of the Houston office.
“I volunteer for an adult literacy organization in Houston and teach English to Adults.
Many of the adults I work with are immigrant women from Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern cultures. When they first come to the US they truly feel uprooted. They are anxious of being in a new country where they don’t understand the language, culture and social nuances. Simple tasks such as visiting the doctor, going to a grocery store, understanding the schooling system, learning driving is a big thing for them. However while working with them, I have observed that in order to raise their children and engage with their grandchildren, they work very hard at learning the language, they are very regular with their classes, very eager to master social skills, basic accounting, and computers and are simply relentless. To me these women are an inspiring example. Overcoming one’s fear of a new country, language and culture is truly being bold.”
What is Women LEAD?
Women LEAD is a network for all Capgemini colleagues (women and men) in North America who want to build and promote a community of people who respect each other’s skills and experience regardless of gender. It enables the communication of: women’s focused activities, the value these activities/initiatives have for the greater good of Capgemini, and the positive impact to our business.
To find out more about the gender diversity initiatives at Capgemini, take a look at our rich diversity programs and #beboldforchange:
About the author
Sarah Banks is a staff consultant in the Supply Chain Technologies business unit based out of the Atlanta office. She is a 2013 graduate of Georgia Tech and has been with Capgemini for less than a year. She loves to travel – either solo or with friends – and has visited more than 20 countries. Sarah also enjoys trying new & innovative restaurants and visiting local breweries around Atlanta.