Gender equality and collaboration between people with different perspectives are a necessity to create better results and value for the future – and this must include changing the stereotypes that our future generation are facing.

Inclusiveness is at the heart of creating value by fostering innovation and good decision making. Not including the perspectives of half of the population would mean not considering their needs in developing solutions that will lead to a better world. Our purpose at EY is to ask better questions that will enable us and our clients to build a better working world. We all have different points of views, which all contribute to a better question and result in a better answer. Gender equality will also improve client services and profits as diversity in teams provides for wider range of perspectives, thus improves decision making and problem solving.

With International Women’s Day once again upon us, my team and I sat down to discuss how we wanted to celebrate the day in line with our Global “She is the Answer. We are the Answer. #SheBelongs.” tagline. At first glance, it was quite bold to say that women were the answer. However, if we have teams in which women are not represented in equal numbers, the answer is quite simply to add more women to the team. But that led us to thinking, what about the men? In our discourse around gender equality, to be honest, our focus tends to be on women not having the same rights and choices that men have. But aren’t we making the same mistake by overlooking the discrepancy in this statement as well? Aren’t men also disadvantaged and do not have the same choices that women do. Do we really allow men to choose a family over a career? To be nurses or kindergarten teachers? Do we accept men who want to work less to pursue other interests and do we make them feel like less than they are if they are not the major breadwinners in the family? Our society has also created stereotypes for men that limit their options in life.

I would like my son to live in a world, where he can equally enjoy his future career, family and hobbies. If he was an adult today, he would mostly probably only be able to choose one of these things – that’s what our society, our politics and many workplaces would demand of him. I would like him to have unlimited choices – to make this happen, we need to break fences around the classical male and female distribution of roles at work and in our society.

Tünde Lukacs, Senior Manager

By breaking down the stereotypes that we have created for both women and men and by giving men equal opportunity as well, which includes equal paternity leave, I believe that the landscape and roadmap to women’s equality would look different and perhaps even be shorter then where we currently find ourselves now.

We need to ensure that we remove the stereotypes associated with career options to ensure that we have the best person for the job. By having the best candidate (and not limiting this to gender), this increases value across the board.

Ammar Ajam-Oghli, Partner

In no way do I mean that we should not be highlighting the issues that women face or engage in discussions and actions to remediate the inequality, but I would like to put forth an additional solution to women being the answer and that would be to perhaps also focus on the inequalities that men experience. By giving equal voice – by allowing both our sons and daughters to be their authentic selves, we will be creating value to future generations as it brings different opinions and ways of thinking to the table.

Gender equality represents respect, reputation and appraisal. I love to work in, with and for teams who demonstrate respect, reputation and appraisal. This creates a real value for me, my family, EY, my clients, my teams…

Jacqueline Wolf, Senior Manager

Is the solution to creating more value for future generations found in being better together? What actions will you take? Please tell us!

Many thanks to (in alphabetical order) Ammar Ajam-Oghli, Bernd Krajnik, Donny Lee, Irene Geissbuehler, Jacqueline Wolf, Joanna Taylor, Johanna Strauss, Margit Vunder, Michel Wälchli, Milena De Simone, Mundia Lillian, Moola Büsser, Paula Zimmermann, Paulina Korecka, Pelin Vatanacan and Tünde Lukacs for their input in writing this blog post.