Women managers need you

‘Men as Agents of Change’ is the latest strand of the CMI Women initiative, launched in January 2017. Changing gender parity at all management levels will require male AND female managers to lead the way.


Nicola Thorpe’s experience of being forced to wear high heels at work coincidently made the national news on the same day the CMI Women initiative to identify and encourage male role models to support and nurture female managers was launched. The juxtaposition of modern and outmoded cultures couldn’t have been sharper.

At the launch event, a number of senior leaders spoke about the business benefits their organisations had experienced from having diverse management teams. These speakers included E.ON Climate & Renewable Chief Executive Mike Lewis, PepsiCo UK General Manager Ian Ellington, and London Underground Managing Director Mark Wild. They also shared the practical approaches their organisations had put in place to create diverse management teams, such as, introducing:

  • flexible working
  • unconscious bias training for managers
  • diversity quotas for candidates for internal appointments
  • sponsorship targets for executives (in one organisation, each executive was required to select and sponsor at least one less-senior female manager)
  • transparent leadership, that is, being open to employees challenging the company’s approach to inclusion and willing to acknowledge when they have not got it right and to address the issues
  • and a willingness to challenge inappropriate behaviours.

The good news is that most of these approaches are simple to action and provide benefits to all employees. The speakers all felt it was essential for organisations to have a commitment to diversity at executive level. This commitment could be shown, for example, through showcasing positive examples and acknowledging unacceptable behaviours within their own organisations.

CMI’s free Blueprint for Balance Toolkit contains research, how to guides, case studies, infographics and much more. The content is available to all organisations and individuals, including non-CMI members.

Are you an agent of change for diversity within your organisation?  What insights or techniques can you share? What do you need to be an agent of change within your organisation?

Share your insights.

Jo Strain, CMI Southern Region lead for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace