In one of the first major studies on the role of the CEO in driving change on diversity and inclusion, Dr Elisabeth Kelan’s research analyses how CEOs of global organisations explain the need for action on gender to themselves and to others, and the kinds of leadership behaviours they use to help make change happen.
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Gender parity is an issue that is near the top of the agenda for many CEOs. While research has stressed that senior leadership commitment and responsibility are central to achieving gender parity as well as other diversity and inclusion aims, it has only been fairly recently that CEOs have started to make gender parity a strategic priority. This development raises the question: which mechanisms do senior leaders have at their disposal to drive behavioural changes towards gender parity in their organisations?
This report outlines what CEOs see as the challenges for achieving gender parity in their organisations, and explores the reasons why CEOs believe that gender parity is a goal worth pursuing. It highlights six critical leadership behaviours through which CEOs can support gender parity and shows how talking about gender parity in more personal and emotional terms can help ensure leaders leave a legacy of gender parity in their organisations.