With the simple act of waking up at 6 am to decorate classrooms with pink balloons and pins, the HEC Paris MBA’s Women in Leadership Club sent a powerful message about its vision for the future of work. The club’s #HECforParity initiative, launched in conjunction with International Women’s Day, was designed to start a conversation on and off campus about why gender parity is important and what paths businesses can take to achieve equality in the workplace.
“We believe that having more women in the HEC Paris MBA will lead to more women in business overall, which will help create a pipeline to equal careers and equal pay,” explained Julianna Twiggs, one of initiative’s founders. “That’s why we wanted to show our support of HEC Paris’ efforts to recruit more women into the MBA program.”
Between courses, students posted pictures and videos of themselves wearing the pins and talking about what gender parity means to them, using the hashtags #HECforParity and #EachforEqual.To increase awareness of the MBA’s gender-parity movement, the club ordered 500 pink pins with the words “HEC for Parity” (a play on “HEC Paris”) on them. Next, 10 volunteers awoke before sunrise on March 9th to ensure that every student who walked into a classroom that day received a pin and an explanation of the MBA’s efforts to recruit more women into the program.
“To witness the entire MBA community showing support to the movement and speaking out loud about gender parity was very important for us,” said Gianinna Manassi, President of the Women in Leadership Club. “To close the gender gap, we need confident and prepared women, but also a society that fosters fairness and diversity. If we want to drive change, it is critical to start challenging our own biases and stereotypes.”
Numerous professors and MBA staff also showed their support for the initiative, either by wearing the pink HEC for Parity pins or by sharing their thoughts about gender parity. “We have 50 countries represented in the MBA, but gender parity in the classroom could only bring a greater diversity of voices and ideas,” explained Associate Professor Svenja Sommer, who teaches Operations Management during the core phase of the MBA program.