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Importance of Diversity at Executive Levels

Recently, Fleur Heyworth, Gender and Inclusive Security leader at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), was interviewed by the founder of Walk The Talk, Sunita Sehmi, on Know-it-all Passport about the benefits of equal representation at executive levels of governance.

Ms Heyworth described how her practice as family law Barrister drew her to work on sexual and gender based violence and gender equality when she began working in International Geneva, and laid the path for her role at GCSP.  At the GCSP, Fleur is leading a range of activities to promote greater understanding and dialogue around Women Peace and Security. She is also passionate about the need for greater representation of women and minority groups within decision making and is Director of the ‘Enhancing Leadership for Women’ course this October, where participants will develop key skills around influencing and leading, and benefit from the insights of senior mentors and Sunita Sehmi, a coach.  She is also introducing “Leading Inclusive Teams” next April for women and men, as recent research indicates that more diverse organisations with inclusive cultures have greater diversity, including gender diversity at the top.

Subsequently, Ms Heyworth was asked about what true leadership means to her and she said that for her it stems from core values of ”dignity, respect and equality”. She believes that great leaders are those that are able to communicate a vision that ‘unites rather than divides, empowers others to leave a legacy that moves beyond short-term financial returns, and creates sustainable happy and healthy communities’.

Asked to describe how she sees female leadership shaping the future, Ms Heyworth suggests that women are great collaborators and bridgers, key leadership qualities to address the challenges of the century.  They can also bring “non-traditional” community based perspectives, which can help to overcome entrenched political divides and can contribute to greater peace, stability and security.  She explains how the opportunity to exchange different perspectives are a key benefit of courses at GCSP, and in an era of ‘remasculisation’ of foreign policy, and greater fear and violence in society, new perspectives and styles of leadership are needed.


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