Past Event

Launch of the Gender Equality Challenge

Monday, April 15, 2013
11:30 am - 12:30 pm

San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco

Gender Equalities Principle Challenge event, launch. Many hands raised.On April 15, 2013, Supervisors David Chiu, Malia Cohen, and David Campos joined the City's Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Christine Falvey, Executive Director of the Department on the Status of Women, Emily Murase, PhD, the Gender Equality Council, leaders from San Francisco companies, and more to launch the Gender Equality Challenge.

The goal of the Gender Equality Challenge is to motivate organizations to join the effort to advance gender equality in the Bay Area and to improve the working environment for all women and men. The Challenge will collect and highlight gender-responsive model practices that can be measured, shared, and replicated.

Young advocates at GEP Challenge launch eventEarlier last week, Mayor Ed Lee set the tone for the Challenge, saying: "A thriving 21st Century San Francisco workforce requires that we honor the principles of equality so that both men and women are treated equally in the workplace. Along with our valuable corporate partners, we are committed to creating workplaces in our City that will be recognized models for our entire nation.”

Dr. Murase opened the April 15 event on a similarly enthusiastic note. Addressing the packed house at City Hall, Dr. Murase called attention to the global momentum around issues of gender, innovation, and equitable workplaces. She thanked the Gender Equality Council - a working group comprised of representatives from leading Bay Area companies - for crafting the Gender Equality Challenge to tackle these critical issues.

Supervisors Chiu, Cohen, and Campos described the need for a public-private partnership to advance workplace equality. They cited dismal female leadership and equal pay statistics, and emphasized that the time for change was now.

Ms. Falvey highlighted Mayor Lee's strong connection with gender equality in San Francisco, and how 15 years ago, as director of the Department of Public Works, he implemented the very first gender analysis of a City department.

Ann Lehman, Policy Director of the Department on the Status of Women, outlined the Gender Equality Challenge and the 7 principles on which it is based. "Gender equality is not just the right thing to do," she said, "It is the smart thing to do." Gender equality in the workplace is essential for: 

  • Achieving better financial performance
  • Attracting a broader spectrum of talent
  • Enhancing organizational health
  • Improving brand and marketplace

Teresa Briggs, Managing Partner at Deloitte, in San Francisco.Teresa Briggs, the first female Managing Partner at Deloitte in San Francisco, said that Deloitte became involved with the Gender Equality Principles Initiative - the program that is the foundation for the Challenge - because "it was the right thing to do for their people and their clients."

She then described two Deloitte practices that fall under the following principles:

  • Principle 1: Employment and Compensation Regional and national leaders in Deloitte's Women’s Initiative (WIN) regularly analyze company-wide compensation levels for gender parity. WIN leaders also look into leadership appointments to ensure no gender bias exists inthe selection of candidates.
  • Principle 2: Work-life balance and Career Development Deloitte developed the Mass Career Customization (MCC) program, a work-life balance practice that enables a more adaptive, "lattice" career path model. This model was created in response to modern realities on how work gets done and how careers are built. MCC allows everyone in the firm to customize their careers in a way that works for them.

Next, Cecily Joseph, Senior Director of Corporate Responsibility and Compliance at Symantec Corporation, began by saying: "I am a woman who works in an environment where women are underrepresented and often struggle to find their voice...I think that even with [all my achievements], that is still who I am in my job every single day, and I think a lot of us can relate to that." She noted the importance of the Challenge to move corporations in the right direction.

Ms. Joseph explained that Symantec is actively re-framing how it approaches gender equity and inclusion at all levels in the company. She shared her personal experiences with setting goals, and the importance of having CEO support for practices that promote equality.

Group of attendees at GEP Challenge launch

Dr. Murase concluded the event by challenging Bay Area companies to do their part for gender equality and smart business, and apply to the Gender Equality Challenge.

Check out great photos from the event on Facebook.

Read more about the launch on SFGate.

View Ann Lehman's profile on LinkedIn

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Join leaders from business, government, and academia to turn discussion into action. Celebrate the companies that are innovating for equity. Learn about model practices to implement in your workplace.
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