Gathering at MIT on Wednesday, June 11, Boston business leaders from the banking, tech, service, biomedical, and many other sectors agreed that the time has come for action on closing the gender wage gap, and increasing the number of women on boards.
Alliance leaders Jim Roosevelt, CEO of Tufts Health Plan, and Trish Karter, Co-founder of Dancing Dear Baking Company, welcomed a broad cross-section of Boston-area CEOs to Clearing the Path, an invitation-only event sponsored by Alliance for Business Leadership. Karter and Roosevelt invited attendees to use their influence to jump-start action in the arenas where they lead.
Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School provided a compelling review of the evidence that business organizations with women on their boards, and where the pay gap has largely been closed, have a competitive advantage in today's global economy
But most of the time was reserved for a no-holds-barred discussion led by Betsy Myers, Founding Director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University. Contributors shared their experience, frustrations, and accomplishments in the long road to gender equality in the workplace. One discussant summed up the state of affairs this way: "We're not where we used to be, but we aren't where we're going, either."
Participants shared stories and experiences that reflected both the difficulty and the do-ability of meeting these challenges. Many best practices were called out by CEOs who had used them with success. The Alliance will follow up on the conversation by compiling the best practices mentioned and making them available to all who are looking for the best way forward.
The energy in the room will give new impetus to the many organizations which are already working in this area and which have many successes to share, as well as challenges to meet. While Clearing the Path is not another new organization, the Alliance for Business Leadership will follow up on the conversation and check on progress at its Eight Annual Fall CEO Summit, "Sustainable Business: Growing Markets, Growing Margins," on October 22nd.