MI Council members Ásta Bjarnadóttir and Paul Kearns recently made a joint presentation to Reykjavik Business School alumni on the subject of the place of women in Icelandic society. Their theme – ‘Women in society is not a gender issue’.
Only mature organizations within a mature society, focusing on societal value, are capable of harnessing the full potential of all of their human capital, irrespective of gender.
The goal for women seeking empowerment, therefore, is not to promote gender, per se, but to raise levels of mature thinking across the board; including government policy makers, shareholders and general management.
Coincidentally, the day after the meeting was first mooted, the latest global rankings on the ‘Gender Gap’ were published by the World Economic Forum, putting Iceland in first place. This might appear to observers to be a success story, and in relative terms it probably is, but if the objective of women is absolute equality then there is still a long way to go. That is why MI is planning to help organize a follow up event in 2015; a special year in Iceland because it marks 100 years since Icelandic women won the right to vote. So, having reached the top of the world rankings, Iceland is now ideally placed to move up to a totally different level, a level that was always the birthright of women and will one day be measured in terms of their full, societal impact.