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March 09, 2018

#TRChangeMakers Summit Suggests Culture Still the Root Cause of Gender Inequality

Thomson Reuters event aims to move from conversation to action in light of International Women’s Day 2018

HONG KONG – Polling taken at the #TRChangeMakers event held this week revealed that members of Hong Kong’s business community believe both process and cultural changes are needed to translate the talk around promoting gender equality into action.

89% of respondents agreed that all firms should publish pay grades and pay bands to their staff, increasing transparency around remuneration.  The role played by sponsors and mentors was chosen as the biggest enabler of the female talent pipeline, with 41% of respondents selecting this option.  Target setting was the next most popular choice, at 16%.

However, there remains a long way to go.  While 43% thought that their firms would achieve a balanced female representation in five to ten years’ time, 26% - the next highest response – said their firms would never achieve this goal.  Reflecting this pessimism, the biggest barriers to achieving gender balance on senior executive teams were seen as culture, at 51%, and unconscious bias, at 31%.  38% believed unconscious bias affected their career at the middle management level, while 36% believed this began right at the initial recruitment stage.

Sanjeev Chatrath, Managing Director, Region Head – Asia, Financial & Risk, Thomson Reuters, said, “It’s clear that as a business community we need to do more to encourage greater equality, whether that’s through increasing transparency, assigning more mentors or publicly setting targets.  But the real change needs to happen in culture.  #TRChangeMakers is designed to translate conversation into action, and we encourage everyone in the community to pledge what they will do to make a difference.”

“Poll findings like these reveal the need for global businesses to make long-term, measurable commitments to gender balance if they are to be successful in the future,” said Susan Taylor Martin, president, Legal, Thomson Reuters. “The Thomson Reuters #TRChangeMakers Summit turns conversation into action by focusing individuals on what they can do, at both a personal and organisational level, to drive change.”

Notes to Editors

The polling, carried out anonymously, was conducted during the #TRChangeMakers event to gather the views of an audience of senior leaders from 80 firms across Hong Kong’s local and international banking, finance and legal industries, as well as representatives from various foundations, chambers of commerce and consulates.

The event, featuring a keynote address by the Honourable Mrs Anson Chan, was held on 6 March 2018 and set out to galvanise action both to address the lack of women in senior executive roles and to focus on the development of the female talent pipeline.  Panellists and attendees were asked to make a public commitment about how they will support more balanced senior executive teams.

Thomson Reuters continues to be directly involved with multiple diversity and inclusion initiatives. In October 2017, Thomson Reuters revealed the 2017 top 100 most diverse and inclusive organizations globally as ranked by the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Index. 35 new companies earning a top 100 spot on the index, which ranks the top 100 publicly traded companies globally with the most diverse and inclusive workplaces.

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Silke Marsh
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Thomson Reuters
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Janet Jin
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Thomson Reuters 
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