Statement From Catalyst President & CEO Deborah Gillis on the Results of the 2016 U.S. Election (Public Statement)November 9, 2016
New York, N.Y. (November 9, 2016)—Yesterday the Catalyst team took time from being advocates to being women and men who felt Hillary Clinton’s loss on a deeply personal level. It feels personal because Secretary Clinton’s candidacy was not about one woman. It was about the hopes and dreams of all of us.
In her, we saw the opportunity to inspire our daughters, to teach our sons, and to correct the many wrongs—big and small—that women have felt over the course of our lives and careers. Her candidacy was symbolic of the inclusive country and world we want to live in. A world where everyone, regardless of gender, race, color, sexual orientation, or physical ability is treated with fairness and given an equal opportunity to succeed.
The reality is that she is not the first over-qualified woman to lose a job to a less-qualified man and she won’t be the last. And instead of shattering the highest, hardest glass ceiling, she shattered the myth of the meritocracy.
So today, Catalyst goes back to work. Work we began in 1962 with a view that businesses and the economy would be stronger if women were fully engaged in the workforce. Our founder, Felice Schwartz, wanted to see educated mothers and married women return to work and believed that in a system that rewards hard work and performance, talented women would naturally rise to the top. Fifty-four years later, we are still waiting for women of all backgrounds to take their rightful places in positions in power.
Today, we know that diversity is not enough. We know that inclusion is where potential is unlocked and innovation thrives. And we know that the most successful countries and organizations are those that have moved beyond asking “why” diversity matters, to asking “how” we can create more inclusive cultures together.
Today, we look to leaders in business to step forward and step up to their responsibility as corporate citizens. We don’t need legislation to bring about equal pay. We need business leaders to look at their data, assess whether women are being paid equally for equal work, and make it right. We don’t need quotas to see women take their fair share of seats at the boardroom table or in the C-suite; we need women to have sponsors that will give them the roles and visibility required to advance. And we don’t need another “program” to make change. We need people to change. We don’t need government to define the values and culture of our organizations. We need companies to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for behaviors that leave anyone feeling excluded because of their identity.
We can do this. Together. Ask us how.