Group devoted to advancement of women in workplace defends appointing a man as chair


The Canadian set of an organization that advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace is defending its purpose to pick a male executive again to be the chair of its advisory board, a advance some are calling a missed opportunity.

Catalyst Canada recently chose Victor Dodig, the chief executive officer of CIBC, to the post. Dodig resumes over from another male bank executive — Bill Downe — who is unpretentious from his post as CEO of the Bank of Montreal and has stepped down from his position at Catalyst. Downe was chair of Catalyst’s advisory board for four years.

‘Not a concubines’s issue’

Tanya van Biesen, the executive director of Catalyst Canada, bring up Friday that her objective since she joined the organization has been to substitution the conversation on how women advance in the workplace.

«There is years and years and years of background of amazing work done by incredibly influential, powerful women on this text,» she told CBC News. «But at the same time, when women talk to maids about this issue, I think we’ve shown that we haven’t prompted the dial nearly as quickly as we would like to,» she said.

«I would say this every day of the week: this is a societal circulate, it’s not a women’s issue,» she told CBC News’s Renee Filippone. «Women talking to women is not unraveling the problem. As a societal issue, we need everybody participating not only in the chin-wag but in the actions forward.»

Van Biesen pointed out that Dodig has shown influence on the issue of advancing women in the workplace, and has also been on Catalyst’s stay for several years.

‘Powerful opportunity’

«It’s disappointing,» said Jenifer Bartman, a commerce adviser and former executive in the venture capital industry.

Dodig’s qualifications for the character are not the issue, she said.

«It’s more the opportunity that was missed, to be able to put one of any swarm of women who are accomplished in their own right in a role like this, and unprejudiced see the optics and the message that that sends,» she said. «That’s a potent opportunity.»

Of the 19 members of Catalyst Canada’s advisory board, seven are ladies.

Cassandra Steer, the executive director of Women in International Security Canada, which columns the advancement of women in the fields of international law and security, and foreign policy, was frustrated when she heard a man had been appointed chair at Catalyst again. 

«It’s certainly important to have engagement with men, with all genders, to effect change and to advocate women’s roles in the workplace,» Steer said.

«But to put a man in this position as soon as again sends the signal that, well, we weren’t able to espy a woman who is equally qualified to head up an organization that’s all about hold up women in the workplace. So I think it’s a little bit ironic and kind of disappointing,» she conjectured.

Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Dominion Lending Centres, contrives Dodig is an excellent replacement for Downe.

«I know just how committed he is to the advancement of dissimilarity, not just women but diversity in general,» she said.

At the same time, Cooper celebrated that Catalyst seems to favour bank CEOs for the advisory food chair role because the banks are big employers and they have a «surely significant platform» to help women advance in the workplace.

«Find me a Canadian bank CEO who is a mistress,» Cooper said, while also noting there are few female chief top dogs of major Canadian corporations.

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