Paladin Security Group's Vice President of People and Culture, Diana Trasolini, shares her personal journey in breaking through the stereotypes of working in a male-dominated industry, and challenges organizations everywhere to empower the women in their teams to learn, grow, and aspire to be leaders.
I want to take a moment on this International Women’s Day to pay tribute to the women ahead of me, who have paved the path to female equality and empowerment. To the women who have lifted me and continue to lift up other women, rather than knocking them down. To those who inspire me and others to fight against gender stereotypes on a daily basis. To both the men and women alike, who refuse to tolerate sexual harassment, gender bias, discrimination, or any other form of gender equality. It is each of you who, through your actions, create change that is making the world a better place to live and work.
I feel lucky to work in an environment that afforded me the opportunities to rise beyond all of the negative statistics and stereotypes associated with gender inequality in the workforce. I am a woman in a male dominated industry with a seat at the corporate table. I am treated with respect and my opinion is valued. Simply put, I am a business partner, not ‘just a woman.’
Working together with the leadership team at PalAmerican, we push daily to be drivers of positive change against gender inequality in the workplace, with the goal of changing what is considered acceptable in the industry that we work. If every company drove this concept into their corporate culture the way that we do, both employees and employers alike would benefit. I am very proud of our organizations initiatives towards breaking down gender stereotypes and celebrating women.
The ultimate goal for equity in the workplace (and the world) is to foster an environment where sustainable development is achieved through gender equality and empowerment of women. Gender equality isn’t just an important issue for women; workplace gender equality is also directly related to overall company performance. Research shows that companies with equal (or close to) male-to-female representation on their executive team have the upper hand against their less diverse competitors in the following ways:
- Improved Productivity – Happier employees are more engaged; happy, engaged employees are significantly more productive, and a more productive employee boosts company profits. If a company is only keeping 50% of their employees happy, they are going to be less productive than those companies that treat ALL employees with equal respect, opportunity, and pay.
- Wider Perspectives – Women and men are wired to think differently. If women are fairly and equally represented in meetings, companies open the door to new perspectives, fresh ideas, and a better ability to be innovative in decision making and problem solving.
- Stronger Reputations – Diversity is an expectation in the workplace. Companies that are falling behind in this category are also seeing their reputations struggle. Clients/customers want to work with companies that value equality. Potential employees want to work for employers that are diverse and fair. Gender disparity will hurt client, customer, and potential employee relationships.
- Better Conflict Resolution – According to a global study done by UNWOMEN in 2015 - countries with high levels of gender equality are less likely to use violence as a form of conflict resolution. While workplaces are unlikely to see violence as a tactic used, we can conclude that a gender-equal workplace will see more collaborative, less abrasive approaches to conflict resolution.
- Increased Financial Returns – With all of the above benefits, diverse companies are inevitably more likely to see increased financial returns. This was confirmed by a 2015 report by McKinsey titled ‘Diversity Matters,’ where it was found that companies with higher levels of diversity saw 15% to 35% more financial returns than that national average.
Companies have much to gain by focusing on helping female employees unlock their full potential, so on this International Women’s Day, and every day going forward, I challenge all employers across all industries to focus on empowering their female employees. Challenge them to strive for excellence, provide them with opportunity to learn and grow, inspire them to want to be business leaders, and build an overall inclusive and fair workplace. Implementing strategies to support these initiatives not only empower women to succeed in their careers, but also results in endless benefits for your company's productivity levels and morale.
And to all of PalAmerican's superstar female employees, I am so proud to work alongside each and every one of you!