Equality for All

SHE Index Powered by EY: Numbers don’t lie, which is why SHE Index Powered by EY is creating actual change by demanding companies to be transparent and show progress.  

The SHE Index measures the actual level of equality at the top and mid-levels of a company’s management.  

In the latest report, 23% of the companies in Norway that were a part of the Index had a balanced top management, yet 69 % of the surveyed companies had explicit gender balance targets for management positions.  

What equals equality? 

When we talk about equality, it is a common misunderstanding that it is a matter of having as many women as possible. However, equality is not just about women. It is about balance. Christin E. Bøsterud, CEO of EY Norway, the company that powers the SHE Index, defines equality as equal opportunities for all, irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, disablement and within all aspects of life, i.e. education, health and safety, social and legal aspects, work life and career, compensation and benefits etc. 

Making Waves was the winner of the SHE Index Powered by EY for 2019.

Ability to Show Progress 

The SHE Index measures the actual level of gender equality within a company. There are many important parameters that have to be taken into consideration when 

evaluating the level of equality and diversity. Bøsterud believes that the ability to demonstrate progress is one of the most important aspects. Bøsterud explains, 

“While a lot may look good on paper, it is just another wasted exercise if you are unable to translate what you advocate into actions driving equality and diversity.”  

Management Agenda 

The CEO believes that in order for us to set actions into life, top management need to own the agenda. These are not activities that can be delegated to an HR department. She believes that as with all aspects of corporate culture, it starts with leadership and the tone from the top by demonstrating that equality matters, and that equality is one of the top priorities within the organization.  

Numbers Don’t Lie 

“What gets measured, gets done.” 

This is the slogan of the SHE Index, but why is this so? Why would something change because it gets measured? 

“We have talked to many companies that perceive that their culture and policies supports gender equality at all levels—until they see the numbers. Numbers do not lie,” says Bøsterud.  

Numbers Will Open Your Eyes 

She gives an example where a salary comparison documented lack of equal pay, or a promotion mapping from the last couple of years come short at demonstrating that both genders have equal opportunities, the original halo is thus overshadowed by the pure facts that are made visible through the numbers.   

“Seeing the numbers is very often the eye opener needed for companies to come to grips with the fact that they are losing out on all the opportunities that diversity and inclusion gives,” explains Bøsterud.  

She says a lot of companies may be losing out when it comes to the war for talent. Bøsterud also emphasizes as a noticeable point in this respect, that numbers are easily accessible outside an organization. Customers or other external stakeholders may start noticing e.g. lack of gender balance, applying that to their KPIs when cooperating with the company. 

“You may very well say that getting the numbers right is both an internal and external business issue.” 

An International Index 

Christin Bøsterud and CEO of SHE Community, Heidi Aven, have big plans going forward, and expect the Index to be a tool used internationally to measure gender balance in companies across the world. Bøsterud says that their ambition for the Index is working together with SHE Community to establish and bring the SHE Index  Powered by EY  to more and more countries. “By bringing the Index to more counties, we are demonstrating that we strongly believe that gender balance is key when creating a better working world,” says Bøsterud. •