Debra Maxwell discusses tackling gender imbalance at Global Sourcing Association industry forum

Debra Maxwell discusses tackling gender imbalance at Global Sourcing Association industry forum

16th February 2021 · Arvato · News

Our CEO, Debra Maxwell, joined members of the outsourcing industry in a forum to discuss what companies in the sector must do to ensure gender imbalance becomes a thing of the past. 

The Women in Sourcing webinar – held on Thursday 11th February as part of the Global Sourcing Association’s (GSA) 2021 Festival of Sourcing – highlighted the challenges women still face in the industry today and explored steps individuals in all organisations can take to help create more equitable workplaces.

Led by GSA President and CEO Kerry Hallard, the event featured keynote presentations from both Debra and Tara McGeehan, President of UK and Australian Operations at CGI.

Debra explained that the pandemic has exposed significant inequalities in the workplace, and called for senior leaders to stop paying ‘lip service’ to tackling gender imbalances. It is an issue that she saw evidenced in the fact that when the government suspended gender pay gap reporting requirements during the pandemic, only half of eligible firms voluntarily reported their figures.

Discussing that new ways of working have disproportionately disadvantaged women, Debra emphasised the importance for leaders at all levels to take time to understand their colleague’s specific needs to ensure that they are providing comprehensive, effective support.

She also encouraged the audience to guard against an erosion in employment rights amid the disruption of the pandemic and urged attendees not to tolerate discrimination in any form.

Speaking alongside Debra, Tara McGeehan explored why there is such a structural gender imbalance in the tech sector and suggested ways in which STEM careers can be made more accessible and attractive to women.

Speaking after the event, Debra Maxwell said: “It was a privilege to address such an engaged audience on such an important topic. While some progress has been made, it is clear from our dialogue that there is still a lot to be done to address gender imbalance in the workforce, not least in the outsourcing industry.

“Arvato has taken some important steps to address these issues across our business, such as narrowing our own gender pay gap and working to maintain culture where internal development and promotions are valued over external hiring. We are looking forward to continuing our progress.

“During an insightful and frank discussion between the event’s attendees, I was also proud to announce that Arvato will be acting to provide support to employees affected by the menopause. This is a topic that is sadly still taboo in many forums, but is essential to making real strides towards an inclusive and supportive workplace.”

You can watch the full recording of the session here.

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