Rainbow ‘wellies’

The University of York Boat Club in England is changing team rules to foster LGBTQ inclusion by wearing rainbow wellies. The rain boots represent the club’s commitment to diversity and continued efforts to ensure that everyone feels welcome at the club regardless of their sexual or gender identity.

“The wellies..represent the club’s brand new LGBTQ policy. The policy includes provisions on gender pronouns, bullying, homophobia, changing rooms, and highlights a variety of methods available for LGBTQ individuals to resolve incidents which may arise or make them feel uncomfortable.”~ Alex Ighalo, captain,University of York Boat Club


Top 4 ways to achieve leadership diversity

There are definite steps that organizations can take to improve leadership diversity, according to David Luna, past president of the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives. Here are the top four:

1. Mentoring: Senior leaders, who have received mentorship training, serve as mentors and each are matched with and meet on a monthly basis with a “mentee.” The mentors share their experiences, get to know the mentees and become their “ethical champions.”

2. Coaching: Bring in a professional coaching company to work with the participants and to develop short-range visions and immediate action steps.

3. Manager feedback: A formal model can help managers give regular feedback to participants.

4. Challenging assignments: These are opportunities for participants to help develop their leadership skills, strategic direction, influence without authority and work across silos on a project meant to add significant value to the organization.

Wearable Mobility Device for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Toyota

Mobility is empowering. That’s why Toyota is working to develop a wearable device for the blind and visually impaired that will help them do more with greater freedom, independence and confidence. Called Project BLAID, it reflects the company’s commitment to enrich lives by advancing the freedom of mobility for all.

The device will help fill the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices by providing users with more information about their surroundings. Worn around their shoulders, it will help users better navigate indoor spaces, such as office buildings and shopping malls, by helping them identify everyday features, including restrooms, escalators, stairs and doors.

The device will be equipped with cameras that detect the user’s surroundings and communicate information to him or her through speakers and vibration motors. Users, in turn, will be able to interact with the device through voice recognition and buttons. Toyota plans to eventually integrate mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies.

“Project BLAID is one example of how Toyota is leading the way to the future of mobility, when getting around will be about more than just cars,” said Simon Nagata, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Toyota Motor North America. “We want to extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location or ability.”

“Toyota is more than just the great cars and trucks we build; we believe we have a role to play in addressing mobility challenges, including helping people with limited mobility do more,” said Doug Moore, Manager, Partner Robotics, Toyota. “We believe this project has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired.”

As part of Project BLAID, Toyota is launching an employee engagement campaign that invites team members company-wide to submit videos of common indoor landmarks. These videos will subsequently be used by Project BLAID developers to “teach” the device to better recognize these landmarks.

For a preview, visit TheToyotaEffect.com to access a short video, equipped with audio descriptions, which showcases a young man who is blind testing an early-stage version of the device.

Developing Canada’s future workforce

A report released by the Business Council of Canada reveals that Canadian private sector employers are looking for ‘soft skills’ such as communication and collaboration when recruiting and hiring new employees, are investing more money in training and believe they are well-prepared for the future of their companies in light of the wave of retiring baby boomers. To read the entire survey, http://bit.ly/1SlOBqy.

Gender diversity in the boardroom key for LGBT friendly firms

Diversity in the boardroom is key to advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)- inclusive polices, finds a study published by SAGE in the journal Human Relations, in partnership with The Tavistock Institute.

Evidence suggests that discrimination, homophobia and workplace hostility limit the employment prospects and career mobility of LGBT individuals. In order to recruit, hire and retain the most talented and skilled workers – irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity – firms have begun adopting and implementing policies aimed at building an inclusive workplace.

Such policies benefit not only LGBT individuals but companies themselves, including improved stock performance and higher rates of productivity and worker commitment. Yet while many companies have adopted these polices, many others have not.

By analyzing the policies of all Fortune 500 firms over a 10-year period the researchers found that: “while women CEOs are vital for advancing a company’s commitment to domestic partnership benefits and gender identity non-discrimination polices, diverse boards are associated with the full range of LGBT-inclusive policies and practices.”

“Indeed the most important factor in predicting whether or not a company adopts inclusive policies is board diversity. Firms with a higher percentage of women on the board and those with influential women board members are more likely than other firms to adopt a broad range of LGBT- friendly policies and practices”, they continued.

The study also found that interlinks between boards was a vital source of innovation, facilitating the diffusion of LGBT- friendly policies as members pass information across the field.

Alison Cook, Associate Professor at Utah State University, commented: “Our study is important because it shows that leadership diversity can significantly influence a company’ likelihood of adopting inclusive polices. Gender diversity in the boardroom is key; women directors increase a company’s commitment to equity and fairness and advance firms’ strategic goals. Companies committed to these outcomes can focus on increasing diversity among top leaders, including CEOs and board directors.”

For a copy of the article, Do women advance equity? The effect of gender leadership composition on LGBT- friendly policies in American firms, http://bit.ly/1M8NbPo, by Alison Cook and Christy Glass, published in in Human Relations, please contact mollie.broad@sagepub.co.uk.


National Film Board of Canada commits 50 percent of its production budget to films by women.

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will be ensuring that at least half of its productions will be directed by women and half of all production spending will be allocated to films directed by women, NFB head Claude Joli-Coeur announced at a Vancouver International Women in Film Festival panel taking place on March 8, International Women’s Day.

This NFB commitment will be rolled out over the next three years, during which the public will be able to keep track of its progress through updates on the NFB’s website, providing complete transparency in budgetary allocations.

“The NFB has always taken a leadership role in women’s filmmaking,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “In our current fiscal year, films directed by women represent half of our total spending on production. In 2016‒2017, the numbers are projected to be well above that. But numbers can fluctuate. There have been good years and lean years for women’s filmmaking at the NFB. No more. Today, I’m making a firm, ongoing commitment to full gender parity, which I hope will help to lead the way for the industry as a whole.”

Women in View, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening gender and cultural diversity in Canadian media both on screen and behind the scenes, recently released a report on the Canadian film industry showing that women represented only 17 percent of directors, 22 percent of writers, and 12 percent of cinematographers, in a sample of 91 feature-length films produced in 2013–2014.

In making this commitment, the NFB is working toward growing these numbers and building on its leadership role in women’s cinema in Canada. In the current 2015‒2016 fiscal year, production spending on films directed by women at the NFB is roughly at parity, with 43.4 percent of production spending on films directed by women and 43.5 percent of spending on films directed by men, 11.3 percent of spending on films directed by a mixed team, and 1.8 percent of spending not yet allocated. That’s up from the previous year, 2014‒2015, when production spending on films directed by women was at 41.7 percent versus 47.8 percent on films directed by men. The NFB is currently completing a number of high-profile releases directed by women, including Zayne Akyol’s Terre de Roses, Mon Nom Est Gulîstan; Céline Baril’s DAVID(S), un homme dans l’univers; Marie Clements’ The Road Forward; Ann Marie Fleming’s feature animation Window Horses; Tiffany Hsiung’s The Apology; Torill Kove’s latest animated short, Threads; Anjali Nayar’s Gun Runners; Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre’s Oscar; and Jody Sugrue’s interactive storyworld Ocean Falls, to name just a few.

What’s more, women hold key creative and management positions at the NFB. Fifty-five percent of the NFB’s producers and executive producers across Canada are women, with 66 percent of upper management and 70 percent of NFB Board of Trustee positions staffed by women.

From as far back as World War II, when women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers, through to the present day, the NFB has always carved out a place for women at the forefront of creativity. Ensuring a diverse array of women’s voices―one that is inclusive of Indigenous women filmmakers and women from visible-minority communities―is crucial to delivering on its mandate of reflecting Canadian perspectives.

Over the past seven-and-a-half decades, the NFB has produced works by such renowned filmmakers as Evelyn Lambart ( Begone Dull Care, w/Norman McLaren), Bonnie Sherr Klein ( Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography), Terre Nash ( If You Love This Planet), Anne Claire Poirier ( Tu as crié: Let Me Go), Alanis Obomsawin ( Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance), Michèle Cournoyer ( Le Chapeau), Torill Kove ( The Danish Poet), Sarah Polley ( Stories We Tell), Ève Lamont ( Le commerce du sexe) and Mina Shum ( Ninth Floor).

A new approach to urgent workforce challenges: OCWI

A consortium of partners led by Ryerson University has established a new Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation (OCWI). The initiative is funded by a $7.5 million grant over two years from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The OCWI will offer a single, coordinated access point for research on evidence-based employment and training approaches for key stakeholders in Ontario. Recent studies point to an urgent need to recalibrate employment service systems to better align with employer demands and needs. The Centre is bringing together partners across the workforce development ecosystem to bridge supply and demand side perspectives and reflect diverse interests.

The Centre’s overarching goals are to address employer needs for talent and Ontario’s most urgent workforce development challenges related to underemployment and unemployment.

In addition, the OCWI will both conduct research and develop innovative projects and approaches to help address Ontario’s labour market needs.

The initiative brings together leading employment organizations, academia and business associations that are committed to building employment capacity using the latest evidence-based approaches. The partners include: the Ontario Chamber of Commerce; the Workforce Planning Ontario Network; Humber College, Collège Boréal, Ontario Disability Employment Network, Social Capital Partners, George Brown College, COFA (Coalition for Adult Training in Ontario), Ryerson University, Lakehead University and Brock University.

To ensure broad support and inclusivity across Ontario the Centre will operate four hubs — North (Thunder Bay), East (Ganonoque/Kingston), Central (Toronto) and West (London). The hubs will be interconnected in their sharing of best practices and work together to mobilize communities toward more effective practices. There will also be a Francophone coordinating centre in Sudbury.

“The Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation brings together key organizations who have the potential to transform the way in which we address the demand for talent by employers on the one hand and the unemployment and under employment of job seekers on the other.” says Wendy Cukier, Vice President, Research and Innovation, Ryerson University and Chair of the OCWI Working Group.

“These issues are particularly challenging in some regions and for some segments of the population. By building on solid research, bringing together the shared wisdom of players from across sectors and rigorously examining opportunities for new and effective approaches, we can find solutions to one of the most challenging issues facing the province. We are delighted to be part of this important initiative and are confident it will drive economic and social development.”

According to Ontario Chamber of Commerce CEO, Allan O’Dette, research shows almost one-third of small businesses in Ontario do not have the talent they need. “Ontario’s economy is facing a labour force challenge. There are far too many people without jobs and far too many employers in need of people with the right skills. Building a 21st century workforce is a key priority area of our Emerging Stronger agenda, which focuses on fostering greater connections between graduates and employers to ensure Ontario has the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global economy.”

OWCI has a tight timeline and work has already begun to build the basic infrastructure, to review the current state of research, to consult widely on the opportunities and promising practices and to develop the regional hubs.

For more information visit: www.ocwi-coie.ca

Only one in 10 British women aspire to reach the top

European countries are lagging behind developing nations when it comes to female ambition in the workplace, with the UK,Germany,France and the Netherlands falling furthest behind.

Only 11% of women in the UK believe they need to reach the most senior levels, MD or CEO, in order to feel successful in their careers, compared to 18% of men. This compares to 28% in Malaysia, 22% in Colombia and 18% in the UAE, according to a survey of over 11,500 people globally from recruiting experts Hays.

In contrast, British women are much more satisfied in reaching mid/ senior-level roles. Almost four in 10 women in the UK(36%) say they would need to reach Director level to feel successful, compared to 33% of men.

The lack of female talent at the top is showing no signs of reversing. Women in senior management tend to be concentrated in support functions rather than leadership roles at the core of the organization. Recent research has shown that globally only 9% of women are Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Operating Officers (COO). Chief Financial Officer (CFO) roles are slightly higher with 18% of these roles held by women, according to data from Grant Thornton.

Alistair Cox, CEO of Hays plc, said: “It is a worrying reality that so few women aspire to reach the most senior roles in their organization.  The fact that their career ambitions are being cut short is particularly concerning, given that women are very ambitious when it comes to manager and director roles.”

There needs to be better support from all sides around gender diversity in order to encourage women to reach the top. There is currently a severe imbalance between men and women in their views about pay and recognition for female workers. Just 22% of men compared to 44% of women believe that equally capable male and female colleagues are not paid or rewarded in an equal manner.

Companies also need to be more transparent about what is being done to support the advancement of women in the workplace, including formal gender diversity policies. The majority of respondents said their organization either didn’t have a diversity policy (44%) or they weren’t sure if one existed (28%).

Cox continued: “Businesses need to make sure they have clear initiatives and development plans in place to retain and promote their top female talent. Employers also need to recognize the benefits of a gender diverse workforce, including a stronger talent pipeline, higher productivity and ultimately a more successful business. Clearly, addressing gender equality needs to be more than just a box-ticking exercise.”

Currently, women currently constitute only 25 of the 267 executive directors in the FTSE 100 (9%), while in the FTSE 250, women are even less well represented, making up just 5% of executives.

About Hays

Hays plc  is a leading global professional recruiting group, operating across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.



Top 4 advantages of gender-diverse teams

Research by the Gallup Business Journal suggests that gender-diverse teams perform better than single-gender teams and to reap the bottom-line benefits that diversity can bring, business leaders must:

  • Identify business units that are less gender diverse.
  • Develop a hiring strategy that increases gender diversity in these units without reducing or ignoring merit. For example, studies indicate that when women feel they are hired to fill quotas, it negatively affects relationships between coworkers.
  • Create an engaged culture that enables men and women to form trusting relationships and motivates them to perform at a high level.
  • Set inclusiveness goals, and hold managers accountable for diversity.y