Diversity Is a Step Towards Sustainable Development
The Summer Peace Summit is a traditional meeting of the Peace 50 participants. The event brings together women leaders from different countries and fields of activity, unites people focusing their efforts on preservation of peace and development of the world. Caroline Codsi, President of Women in Governance, was one of the new speakers of the Summit this year. She has been assisting companies in promoting the diversity policy in the collective contributing positively to their efficiency for more than 10 years already. Ms. Codsi is included in the list of the most influential women in Canada. She is a demanded expert at international conferences and forums worldwide.
Founder and President of Women in Governance (Canada)
The topic of preservation of peace and development of the world is close to women of all countries. However, that topic is especially important for Caroline Codsi who was born in Lebanon. “I was 7 years old when the war started and I was 22 when it ended. That situation hindered any growth and development but that’s how I learned to overcome obstacles, to be persevering despite difficulties. Most importantly, I understood how important it is to be able to negotiate”, says Caroline Codsi.
According to Ms. Codsi, women are naturally endowed with many qualities helping them preserve harmony in the world.
The expert recalls that, in the 15 years that she witnessed the war in Lebanon, there was never a woman anywhere to the negotiation table. All processes related to decision-making, formation of alliances, and development of strategies, were carried out by men. “I am deeply convinced that had there been more women close to these processes, that war wouldn’t have yielded the disastrous results”, she emphasizes.
Men are good at strategy but women’s empathy is developed much better than men’s. As mothers, women always think about the comfort and safety of people around them. That is why men and women must be able to work in a team, listen to, and hear one another. This harmonious collaboration would make it possible to bring the world to sustainable development and prevent many wars and conflicts.
Women are great negotiators. When they negotiate for themselves, they’re not the best. But when women negotiate on behalf of a community then they are unbelievable negotiators.
When Caroline moved to Canada 30 years ago, she was full of expectations related to the equal representation of men and women at all levels in every industry. To a certain extent, that was true. However, when her career started progressing, Ms. Codsi began to notice that there were fewer and fewer women in leadership roles. Most women just ‘stuck’ at the low and middle career levels. The expert decided to carry out research to understand what was the root causing that and what could be done to fix the situation.
In 2010, Caroline Codsi jointly with a team of her like-minders founded Women in Governance. The experts believed that gender diversity and involvement of women in leadership would raise the efficiency of separate countries as well as countries in general.
“In our team, we have men and women, people of different ages and social statuses. That is how we come to very robust solutions to the problems”.
Women in Governance started to cooperate with concrete companies and assisted them in forming gender diversity in teams. In addition, Caroline Codsi and her team created a Parity Certification with the probono support of McKinsey & Company to support organizations in closing the gender gap in the workplace.
Some companies claimed that they couldn’t find proper women candidates for leadership positions or found other excuses to explain their male-dominated management. “We listened to no excuses and proposed our ways to address the problems. Gender equality and diversity are not only beautiful theses or slogans. It’s a constant work focused on development”, emphasizes Caroline Codsi.
Women make up 51% of the population of our planet and 60% of graduates of universities. That proves the importance to consider their opinions.
The whole world faced the pandemic of the coronavirus, which gave a new impetus to the development of the gender agenda. In the period of forced self-isolation, household duties and family care rested primarily on women. At the same time, professional obligations still required much attention and energy. The pandemic became a peculiar test of women’s ability to balance work and personal life. This situation showed one more time that women are capable of many things.
During the pandemic, women leaders in many countries showed a proper spirit and demonstrated their capacity to come out of the crisis.
Caroline Codsi also expressed her concern that states started paying less attention to many of the existing problems unrelated to the spread of the coronavirus. For example, a programme on closing the gender pay gap was suspended in the United Kingdom because of the COVID crisis.
“In the pandemic, countries almost forgot about gender equality problems. However, they still exist. It is necessary to remember and speak about that. I think, it’s essential to have meetings like the Summer Peace Summit, to continue our focus at working on coming together globally to resolve issues that we all have in common”, believes Caroline Codsi.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov