Paris, 7 March 2014
To mark the milestone, Carol Sirou, CEO of Standard&Poor’s France and Head of S&P EU offices network, was guest speaker at a celebratory event held at ICC global headquarters in Paris. Ms Sirou told participants: “As women leaders, we have a responsibility to help each other and I have learned that leading by example is the best way to influence and bring about change.”
Ms Sirou gave an overview of the McGraw Hill Financial Women's Initiative for Networking and Success (WINS) and emphasized the importance of having a value-adding forum outside of the corporate and human resources domain where women employees could hold open conversations and support each other. “Five years ago I realized that lots of women reach a certain point in their careers where they lose confidence in themselves and were not as daring as male counterparts. I realized the importance of having a structured forum to share views,” she said.
“I don’t think we fully realize how much WINS is an investment for the organization,” said Ms Sirou, noting that diversity was a crucial component for business success. Ms Sirou said that the mentorship programmes of WINS aimed to broaden the perspectives and competences of staff and were beneficial not only for the staff being mentored but also for the mentors themselves. Responding to questions from ICC staff, Ms Sirou told the gathering that confidence was all important but that women should remain themselves while striving for success.
WBW was created on International Women’s Day in 2012 to raise awareness and to help improve gender balance and equality at ICC – both internally at the staff level and throughout its representative bodies made up of external appointees and experts.
Efforts to improve internal practice policies proposed through the government mandated plan of action for equality, included measures such as more flexible working hours for employees who may need them, and developing a guide to help hiring managers evaluate candidates and avoid questions that may lead to bias. These were not fully implemented and communicated in 2013 and are being re-conducted.
“The initiative has gained some momentum during its second year and we have some developments to celebrate,” said Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, Chair of the WBW Steering Committee. “This year we’ve initiated an ambassador programme and reached out to involve our network of national committees. We are also thrilled to launch our world business women website.”