We were recently asked if Vision 2020 is women-only. While we are a women’s equality initiative and the majority of our passionate members are women, we have always had men involved. They are important partners in the pursuit of gender equality.
Three outstanding men currently serve on Vision 2020’s National Leadership Circle. We spoke with one of them – Mark Steinman, Vice President, Investments at Raymond James – about his reasons for becoming involved in Vision 2020 and why he feels men should be just as involved as women in the fight for gender equality.
1. Why is it important for men to be just as involved as women in the fight for gender equality? Why are you interested?
Women are playing a larger role in the workforce and earning their place in the boardroom. CNBC reported recently that Fortune 500 companies with the greatest representation of women in management positions deliver 34 percent higher growth than companies with lower representation. In 2010, the 30% Club was started in the United Kingdom to achieve the goal of 30% occupation of women in these types of roles in the FTSE 100 by the end of 2015. Apparently they have achieved 26%, up from 12.5% just five years ago. U.S. boards in the S&P 500 stand at only 19.1%. Maybe we need a Queen as President.
2. As someone who has been involved with Vision 2020 for several years, what would you say is the main benefit (or benefits) to being part of this coalition? Any insights to share with others who are considering joining, particularly other men?
I don’t experience things the same way women do all the time. Gaining perspective into ideas that are 100 percent driven by women allows me to gain insight into helping formulate decisions in and outside of work.
3. From your own observations, what types of programs have you noticed as the most impactful drivers of positive change when it comes to gender equality (for example, youth education initiatives, sponsorship/mentorship programs in workplaces, etc.)? What do you feel we need more/less of?
Mentoring programs for women who are interested in becoming leaders at their companies is something you need more of. Internships for the young women as most don’t know what their career path is.
4. In six words, what does a more gender-balanced world look like to you?
$, decency, fairness, power, recognized, kind
5. Anything else you would like to share?
It seems as if the larger number of people you have involved, the better.