Astra: Empowering Women in Business
Gender Equality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – the blueprint of the United Nations to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.
When it comes to power, the European Union has not yet reached the halfway mark to full gender equality. With the domain of power holding the lowest score in the Gender Equality Index, women remain under-represented in the kinds of decision-making positions that shape politics, economics and society.
Yet gender equality is a founding value of the EU and improving it could lead to an increase in GDP of up to €3.15 trillion by 2050.In the private sector, almost three quarters of those sitting on corporate boards are men. The situation is even worse in Malta, with the number of women on the boards of directors of listed companies accounting for only 8.5%.
A lack of women in decision-making positions is reflected in the failure to recognise people’s diverse needs across public policy in the EU. Lifetime inequalities in pay and employment lead to an overall gender gap in earnings of some 40%.
Bringing more women into decision-making positions would enable the EU to use all the resources at its disposal and help ensure everybody, regardless of gender, is able to help shape society.
The Proposed Solution
Since 2004, an extensive but inconsistent body of research has demonstrated that diverse teams sustain higher and more consistent performance over longer periods and organisations that aggressively promote women to executive positions, have stronger financial performance with one quarter to one third higher profits than their industry average.
A programme which will be developed specifically to nurture, support and empower promising leaders – by specifically addressing the barriers and hurdles commonly faced by women at the workplace. For the participating companies, the programme will help them build a pipeline of candidates to fulfil senior leadership roles and help the organization to innovate and flourish.
The programme will consist of a mix of mentoring, coaching and training, and through the process, create a network of leaders who can support and empower each other.
In helping forward thinking business leaders build profitable, purpose driven sustainable companies, we are inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which cover a broad range of social and economic development issues including poverty, health, education, climate change, gender equality, energy, environment and social justice. We also look towards the UN Business and Human Rights Framework – an authoritative global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse human rights impacts linked to business activity.
In doing this we seek the ensure that our clients understand the crucial role that only the business community can play in achieving these ambitious goals for our planet. As it becomes increasingly clear that the efforts of Governments and NGOs, which of course rely on taxation and private philanthropy to operate, to alleviate the world’s economic, social, and environmental challenges, will never prove completely adequate, we strive to help business leaders find the incredible commercial opportunities that finding solution to these challenges generates.
Our inspiring programme is designed to make the corporate world more inclusive and diverse – and therefore more productive, efficient and sustainable. We want to empower women to overcome the obstacles they face on the road to obtaining positions of economic decision-making power and a seat on directorship boards.
Various recent studies have shown that firms with women on their boards were more profitable. Recent research by Kris Byron and Corinne Post 2016, for instance, examined conflicting research about whether the presence of women on company boards improves financial performance. They uncovered two reasons why “Boards with female directors tend to make stronger efforts to monitor the firms. They spent more time in board meetings and were more likely to make efforts to monitor the CEO and the firm in general.” They also concluded that” boards with more female directors are more likely to be concerned with and involved in influencing the firm’s strategy.”
They suggested that “efforts to ensure director accountability and to open educational and employment opportunities to women may provide the conditions that will motivate firms to select female directors for their performance-enhancing potential.”
A further huge study found that companies with more women leaders were more profitable. New data from the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY, 2016, strengthened that case. The groups analysed results from 21,980 global, publicly traded companies in 91 countries from various industries and sectors and showed that having at least 30% of women in leadership positions, or the “C-suite,” adds 6% to net profit margin.”
“The evidence on women in the C-suite is robust: no matter how we examine the data we get the same result: women in the C-suite are associated with higher profitability.” The C-suite results were clear: “more women translated to higher profits”…and that “having more women on boards is associated with having more women in leadership, otherwise known as the pipeline effect.”
Mentorship is a crucial part of the Astra programme. We will identify ten successful people at the heart of various sectors of business and industry to mentor ten project participants. In so doing, we aim to create a budding network of female leaders who can support and empower each other.
Meanwhile, we’ll be tackling the barriers and hurdles faced by women in the workplace head-on, through a series of expert-led workshops that will coach participants in business development, planning and leadership skills.
Through Astra, participating companies have an opportunity to build a pipeline of candidates who are ready to fill senior leadership roles, elevating their organisations to the next level through inclusivity and diversity.
At CORE Platform, we promote, debate and raise awareness about Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Astra is just the latest in a list of successful and diverse initiatives that we have launched with this mission in mind.
Now, the journey of empowering Malta’s women to enhance the corporate world by becoming the new decision-makers is one that we can’t wait to share with you.
This ZAAR crowdfunding campaign is our way of doing that.
Apart from allowing us to raise part of the funds needed to realise the project, the crowdfunding campaign is the perfect vehicle to raise awareness of the project itself and its laudable goals, and to reach out to businesses and individuals who may wish to contribute to it in some way.
With this ZAAR crowdfunding campaign, we hope to raise the first €17,900 of the €60,000 estimated project costs. With your help, the funds raised will go towards professional services including the recruitment of mentors and mentees, training sessions, communication and media costs, organisation of networking events and other tools necessary to ensure Astra’s success.
We believe that together we can change the corporate world, by creating a springboard for women to become the new business leaders of Malta and beyond.
The team behind Astra brings a wealth of experience to this ambitious and exciting venture.
CORE’s President, award-winning business leader Helga Ellul, needs no introduction. With a successful career in business, trade, and industry behind her, Ms Ellul currently runs a consultancy company Advise Ltd, bringing her incomparable know-how to the project.
Matteo Privitelli joined CORE Platform in May 2016. He is in charge of the administration of the organisation and has been key in the management of the successful projects CORE Platform has so far undertaken.
Roberta Lepre from Weave Consulting is partnering with CORE to bring the Astra to fruition. Dr Lepre has acquired substantial experience in the social sector in Malta, and for many years, she has been actively engaged in gender issues. She is currently Director at Weave Consulting actively promoting the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.