- Isabella Lenarduzzi

Who are the business leaders leading the way to gender equality?

On December 3, JUMP, in partnership with Coca-Cola Enterprises Belgium, will grant its Wo.Men@Work Award for the fourth time. This prize recognizes one business leader who is personally committed to reaching gender balance in the management of her or his organization.

This year, eight business leaders submitted their applications for this prize: 4 women and 4 men. The public will be able to vote for their favorite candidate between November 12 and November 22 via www.womenatworkaward.be. The votes from the public account for 40% for the final selection of the winning candidate, the vote of the jury accounting for the remaining 60%.

By creating the Wo.Men@Work Award, JUMP wants to move the professional equality agenda along, through the promotion of a business leader who provides the necessary energy and means to obtain a greater balance between women and men within the management of her or his company. The person who wins the award thus becomes the ambassador of professional equality for one year, with the goal of encouraging other business leaders to do the same, sharing her or his recipes and promoting the work done by her or his teams.

France’s Minister of equality, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, decided for the first time in Europe to penalize companies which do not respect all the legislations concerning professional equality. She sent a moratorium to 400 companies and penalized 4 of them financially. In Belgium, it would be useful to know the businesses which are regularly the subject of complaints for discrimination, filed with the Institute for equality, and which do not cooperate to address these inequalities. Laws without punishments are pointless. But it is also essential to promote the businesses which are committed and implement a serious equality plan. This is what the French minister does by creating a ranking of the most deserving businesses. While waiting for this to be implemented in Belgium, JUMP has created the only award worldwide which celebrates a business leader who displays a personal commitment for more gender diversity within its teams.

Meritocracy will not be reached without an in-depth change in culture and practices within each company. Change requires passion and commitment. It is the attitude of the leaders that will inspire the rest of the management and that will guarantee achieving the objectives. This is the reason why JUMP created the Wo.Men@Work Award with Coca-Cola Enterprises Benelux in order to celebrate the leaders who are committed, and to choose the best amongst them to become the ambassador of professional equality amongst her or his peers.