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International Women's Day at ORMIT Belgium

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. This year’s campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. At ORMIT, where we’re developing future leaders, we believe that balance drives a better working world. For today’s Women's Day, we listened to our Management Team. What do they think about the theme and ORMIT’s role in creating a more balanced work place?

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All about perspective

I absolutely think the theme deserves attention – it just makes me unhappy how the dialogue about it happens nowadays: there is a lot of “we versus them” thinking, which doesn’t help in understanding each other’s perspective and getting people to change” says Bert Bleyen, Head of Talent Development. “The way people talk about gender, often determines if they can talk about it in the first place

An De Bondt, Head of Traineeships, is not a fan of the we-them thinking either. “Dividing the world into men and women is too simple. It’s more about diversity in general. It has been proven that group intelligence rises when there is a good mix of men and women in the group. I believe every company should cherish this complementarity and create the circumstances that stimulate a balanced mix”. Bert adds: “The more perspectives there are, the better one can take a decision”.

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For Alicia, Business Development Manager, it goes even further: “Sometimes I wonder if we don’t stigmatize ourselves. You don’t see any men breathing life into communities or International Men’s Day. For me, if you’re a capable person and you’re able to take a stand, it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female. Competence is more important than gender.” Same goes for Thomas De Wulf, CEO of ORMIT Belgium: “Whether you’re a man or a woman, in life, you have to do as you please. The decision to stay home for your kids or to pursue a career shouldn’t be made by your gender. Freedom of choice is an individual matter; equal chances, that’s what we must fight for.”

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And at ORMIT?

How do we do try to do that? The gender division of our trainees, whom we develop to become the leaders of tomorrow, is plus-minus 50-50. Here at ORMIT, everyone is given equal chances. By developing their personal leadership, we help our trainees to get a better view on their values and their goals. It strengthens them to make the decisions that fit them and to pursue their goals. That personal leadership is, of course, gender independent.

That’s why as an organisation, we try to be an example as well in our leadership: half of our Management Team is female. Does this mean there’s nothing more to do? Not exactly. Catherine, Head of Recruitment and Selection, adds: “Far too often people have to choose between a career or children. I believe that it is up to the leaders of this world to set the right example and show that you don’t need to sacrifice time with your children to be in a leadership position. I don’t see that happening enough these days. Role models like this, both men and women, would be a great inspiration to move things forward. Could A CEO that works 4 days out of 5 be the future?”

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Conclusion

It’s clear that our MT believes in balance for better and that we should fight for equal chances. The way to get there? Differs from person to person, which makes us conclude that everyone has a part to play – men, women – if we want to strive for gender balance. And that International Women’s Day should not be so much about the differences between men and women, but about different perspectives.

What do you think?

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