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The Relentless Pursuit for Gender Diversity in the Workplace by Gillian Stapleton (Executive Director, DSA of Australia)

Austrlia

I take a keen interest in this topic.

So it’s not surprising that a report titled ‘Reinventing the workplace for greater gender diversity,’ by consulting firm McKinsey piqued my interest.

As one would expect from a reputable organisation, it’s thorough and packed with fascinating insights and stats. Well worth a read. However, as I went about my business that day, I found myself reflecting, not about the facts and findings, but this…

How many reports from powerhouse consulting firms do we need?

 In 2014, McKinsey released their survey findings in a report titled, ‘Moving mind-sets on gender diversity.’ And, ‘Why gender diversity at the top remains a challenge.’  Hop online and you’ll find ‘gender diversity projects’. Projects!

 Key ‘gender diversity’ into Google and you’ll find information galore: reports, projects, articles and more. In consulting fees, human resources and project teams alone, I suspect it’s a huge cost to the economy. We could, if the fancy takes us, trawl though copious studies and reports year after year.

So I wonder…

Why is it so hard to achieve gender diversity in the workplace?

After all, each additional report highlights that we know what the issues are and, where they are. We seem to be filled with good intention. Coaxing, encouraging and educating. And yet…we’re just not getting very far.

Ernest Hemingway said, “Never confuse movement with action.” How right he is, because we’re moving and scurrying but it seems to me, not hurrying.

Could language and tone play a part?

 Sometimes the language of ‘change’ can be threatening, like “moving mind sets” and “reinventing”. To those less friendly to the idea, I imagine it sounds more mind-blowing than “mind-moving”!

An article in the Huffington Post titled, “The Business Case for Gender Diversity,” reinforced the point and sparked another thought…

How sad that we need to position this worthy goal through the lens of a ‘business case’.

It’s just not something I’m used to

 Of course, I’m a woman, so I’m well aware of the challenges. It’s a well-discussed topic of conversation within my social groups. From career women, mums with part-time jobs to my marathon running buddies, most have a story to share.

I’m just not used to it myself.

So why?

I believe it’s about culture and values

In the field of direct selling, we don’t talk about ‘gender diversity’ or ‘gender equality’ and the like. We don’t find ourselves selling the concept of a ‘gender diverse workforce’    or needing to highlight its benefits to either the decision-making process or bottom line.

While I’m the first to admit we experience the occasional hiccup, the industry’s culture and values generally steer us in the right direction. No educating, coaxing or convincing required. It’s all very civilised, cohesive and I believe, honourable.

The direct-selling opportunity attracts more women than men

We know that this is partly due to the type of companies involved and their product offerings; and, (because women are usually primary carers) the income-earning potential balanced with family-friendly flexibility and convenience.

With low barriers to entry, a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment, it’s a space in which women feel comfortable. Here, they tell us, they find a level playing field, a true meritocracy— perhaps for the first time ever in their working life.

It seems the men in our industry agree, with many attracted by those very same qualities too.

Our industry holds true to its values and in doing so, attracts those who share them.

I think like this…

Why don’t we pursue gender diversity and equality in the workplace because it’s the right thing to do?

 Let’s make that the primary motivator. And when we do, enjoy the additional benefits it brings, like… better business decisions and a healthier bottom line.

 

 

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Direct Selling Australia – 50 Years Young

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This year marks 50 years for Direct Selling Australia, and to celebrate the occasion, the association is hosting a 50th Anniversary Conference to lead the industry into transformation. The central focus will be on disruption within the industry and how to capture the change that is upon us. Moreover, the event will provide targeted material for both CEOs and their teams; with keynote speakers, sales and marketing breakouts, a session on social and digital marketing, a CEO forum, speed mentoring session and ample networking opportunities. More information will be coming soon https://directselling.org.au/ .

 

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Congratulations to the DSA of Peru

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WFDSA would like to congratulate the DSA of Peru for achieving Platinum participant status for a second year in a row in the Code of Ethics Recognition Program. Their dedication and hard work contributes to even further raising the bar on ethics!

We would also like to recognize the DSAs’ individual member companies who participated in the Code of Ethics Recognition Program.

In Peru, the following fourteen member companies participated in the program:

  • 4 Life Research Peru S.A.C
  • Dupree Venta Directa S.A.
  • Gogos Sport SAC
  • Herbalife Peru S.R.L.
  • Leo Andes S.A.
  • Morinda Worldwide Peru S.R.L.
  • Natura Cosmeticos
  • Nikken Peru S.R.L.
  • Omnilife Peru S.A.C.
  • Oriflame Peru S.A.
  • Productos Avon S.A.
  • Safed S.A.C.
  • Swissjust LatinoAmericana S.A.
  • Unique S.A.

If you would like additional information on the Global Code of Ethics Recognition program please visit https://wfdsa.org/code-of-ethics-recognition-program/for full details or contact Maureen Paniagua at mpaniagua@wfdsa.org

 

 

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Middle East Direct Selling Forum

DubaiThe first ever Middle East Direct Selling Forum organized by the United Arab Emirates DSA (UAE DSA) and supported by WFDSA will be held on March 28, 2017 in conjunction with the Association Performance program for the Asia / Pacific region.  The event will cover various topics including international experiences around the world, legal challenges and opportunities, entrepreneurship and direct selling.

This event will bring together DSAs, member company executives, government officials and academia from the Asia / Pacific region and other regions.  For more information, please refer to the following link: http://www.directsellingforum.me/en/home/

 

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Direct Selling Association of Argentina (CAVEDI) Update

Argegentina 2On December 5, 2016, CAVEDI held its first event for women entrepreneurs. The event was held at the Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires and highlighted the empowerment and entrepreneurial spirit of women. Participants included government officials, member companies and distributors. Speakers included a panel of member company distributors and a famous Argentine entrepreneur who is a fashion designer. CAVEDI Executive Director Alberto Villamil highlighted that the direct selling industry helps women entrepreneurs and their projects.

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china-blog-117 China’s State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) called a meeting on December 7-8 in Shanghai, to discuss the development of direct selling in China.  Chaired by SAIC Vice-Minister Wang Jiangping, and with participation by leaders from the WFDSA, USDSA, SELDIA, DSAs in Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the industry’s global CEOs, and representatives of relevant government ministries and research institutes, this was a landmark event for the direct selling industry in China, as well as, potentially, the beginning of ongoing dialogue and exchanges between the SAIC and the DSA community.  Key discussion focuses included the need to update the regulations, the basis for trust, and potential integration with digital commerce.  Aside from substantive discussions and networking, conference participants also visited Amway’s Botanical Research Center and its Experience Center, and the manufacturing facilities of the Chinese company Longliqi.

 

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Italian Direct Selling Association Update

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On October 6, 2016, the Italian Direct Selling Association – AVEDISCO was recognized at the Seldia’s Annual European Direct Selling Conference.  The Astra Hall of Fame Award was given to AVEDISCO Honorary President Giorgio Giuliani.  During his long career, he was instrumental in the promotion and the recognition of direct selling in Italy and in Europe.  He also served as Board member of Seldia and WFDSA.

 

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Ecuadorian Association of Direct Selling Companies Update

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On November 25-27, 2016, the Ecuadorian Association of Direct Selling Companies – AEVED organized an entrepreneurship fair at the Quito Convention Center.  The fair had more than 30,000 visitors who learned about the direct selling sector in Ecuador and entrepreneurship.  For more information, please refer to  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLxcJAZewwM   and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4XVls8hgPI

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Direct Selling Australia – 50 Years Young

dsa-of-australiaNext year marks 50 years for Direct Selling Australia and to celebrate the occasion the association is planning an annual conference.  The conference will be held at the prestige Sydney hotel, Intercontinental Double Bay, from June 19-20, 2017.   The event will run over two days with a spectacular Gala dinner on the Monday evening to celebrate the 50 Year Anniversary of the association.  More information will be coming soon https://directselling.org.au/ .

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WFDSA Supported the Fourth French DSA (FVD) Academic Seminar

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WFDSA supported the fourth French DSA (FVD) Academic Seminar on “Workplace Wellness and Sales Performance” which took place at the IAE of Montpellier (University School of Management) on October 11 -12, 2016.  About 100 participants from academic, business, government and direct selling executives attended this informative event.

The event included interactive roundtable discussions with speakers such as Guillaume Sarkozy, Chairman of the Foundation Malakoff Mederic Handicap.  WFDSA Executive Director Tamuna Gabilaia presented on the global direct selling industry, entrepreneurship and global academic initiatives

 

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