33%. 38% 7.5. 11. 7. 56%. 15.

This week is the International Women’s day. I’ve seen a lot of statistics this week and some make me hopeful and some make me – let’s call it less hopeful. My company, Norsk Hydro, is a company of 34,000 employees and we are only 19 % women. As part of our strategy, we have set the ambition to increase the number of female employees to 25 % in 2025.

I recently downloaded an interesting workshop material from LeanIn about gender bias in the workplace. It started with three icebreakers. “When 1 in 10 senior leaders in their company is a woman, what % of men and what % of women think women are well represented in leadership?”* 

Henri Gomez and I in the office
My manager and I in the office

It reminded me about an article I wrote some years ago where I said that choosing your manager wisely was one of my top three advice to young working women. I’m happy to say that I have a manager today who empowers women. He has on several occasions chosen to recruit women to his management team, and we’re 38% women in the management team today. Two of our Commercial regions have female leaders and so has R&D, HR, Communications, and Finance (me).

In January we centralized our finance organization in my business unit. I now have an organization of approximately 115 people and while I was looking through our HR system I realized that I have 56% women and 44% men in my finance organization. My own lead team is not as equal, we’re soon 33% women and this is an improvement from the past. It’s not good enough, but we’re taking one step at a time.

However, there are other numbers that are very important too when we speak about diversity. For instance, in my direct team we have worked on average 7.5 years in the company. We speak 11 languages and have 7 nationalities. My greater team is located in 15 countries. This is also important. But even more important than this – we have a really diverse personality gallery.

And since I’m in finance I’m a believer in “If you can measure it, you can manage it.” And that’s why the numbers matter. When we can make the numbers visible it also forces us to focus on the issues behind the statistics. So I’m happy that Hydro has a clear strategy on increasing the number of women and I’m also happy to see that we have a good diversity in my part of the organization.

* The depressing answer to the question above is 45% of men and 28% of women (LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2019) and the workshop material can be found here:  https://leanin.org/50-ways-to-fight-gender-bias