- Isabella Lenarduzzi

Cast your vote! Wo_Men@Work Award rewards Belgian champions of gender diversity.

On December 9th, Belgium will announce its first true champion of gender diversity with the Wo_Men@Work Award, which spotlights and rewards leaders that are personally committed to ensuring a fair gender balance within their management through concrete and measurable efforts to promote equal opportunities at Board of Directors, Executive Committee and managerial level.

The response to the call for entries to the award was beyond expectation: more than 25 companies and organizations from the private and public sectors submitted their nominations over the past few weeks. “We were overwhelmed by the response – both in quantity and in the quality of the dossiers we received,” states Lenarduzzi. “It is encouraging to see that gender diversity has become a strategically important performance indicator to many companies – a priority against which many are starting to put concrete programs and KPIs.”

And the nominees are…

An independent jury of experts from the private and public sectors recently chose three finalists – managers that have shown a personal commitment to gender diversity by walking the talk, often in the face of significant resistance from within their own organizations. The three finalists are: Frank Van Massenhove, General Director at the FOD Social Security, Albert Ragon, General Manager at Danone Belgium and Marc Decorte, CEO at Shell Belgium. VOTE HERE

Each in their own way, these three men have proven that they are prepared to stand up and forge ahead with concrete, measurable gender-diversity initiatives. Van Massenhove took just two years to make sure his management team featured 50% women. He is unequivocal about his personal belief: “Only stupid companies chose to stay with the highest ratio of male colleagues,” he says. VOTE HERE FOR FRANK

Albert Ragon has been a long-standing advocate of gender diversity and has the management structure to show for it: 51% of his management consists of women and 30% of his Executive Board are women and Belgium is used as a best-practice case for the entire Danone Group. “Diversity is just one part of a more fundamental equation: to enable everyone to realise their potential within the company,” says Ragon. VOTE HERE FOR ALBERT

Marc Decorte, CEO at Shell Belgium sees a clear long-term business case for gender diversity. His management consists of 30% women, not insignificant for a company in a traditionally male industry. “Business challenges are getting more complex. A diverse team is approaching those from different perspectives and tends to develop much better solutions,” says Decorte. VOTE HERE FOR MARC

“We are enormously proud to have such inspirational leaders to champion the case for more gender balance in the senior echelons of business. Each in their own way, they set inspiring examples to their peers and the millions of women fighting to make their way up the ranks in companies throughout the country,” concludes Lenarduzzi.

Online voting is open from November 22nd until December 2nd

The winner will be announced on December 9th at the official award ceremony in Brussels. Register here to attend the ceremony!