Switzerland has made encouraging strides since embracing gender equality laws in 1981, but it is time to pick up the pace in the fight for fairness — starting with executive leadership

Today, hundreds of thousands of women and men will take to the streets in Switzerland, united in the call for an end to gender inequality. The Women’s Strike is a necessary wake up call for business leaders, policymakers and communities.

The journey towards gender parity has been slow because inequality runs deep and complex within the fabric of our societies. Unpicking systemic bias from parliaments to playgrounds requires a collective will to change, binding legislation and, above all, leadership.

One area where swifter gains seem possible is in the corporate world — equal opportunity, access to childcare, parental leave, and…

Many people probably assume that online stores are making a fortune, without all the costly bricks and mortar. But the reality is rather different. Many ecommerce activities are, in fact, unprofitable; if people had to pay the true cost of what they bought online, they would probably buy less. In fact, we think there is an inflection point approaching, when consumers will either have to pay more for online purchases or end up with fewer products and services to choose from.

Let’s start with the online retail leviathan Amazon, which chalked up record profits and revenues in 2018. This is…

Since the earliest days of virtual chess and solitaire, video games have been a playing field for developing artificial intelligence (AI). Each victory of machine against human has helped make algorithms smarter and more efficient. But in order to tackle real world problems — such as automating complex tasks including driving and negotiation — these algorithms must navigate more complex environments than board games and learn teamwork. Teaching AI how to work and interact with other players to succeed had been an insurmountable task — until now.

In a new study, researchers detailed a way to train AI algorithms to…

Western fears of Chinese telcoms giant Huawei infiltrating their technological infrastructure are rooted in fears of China’s rise. Three of the “Five Eyes Network” of English-speaking states that share intelligence — the US, Australia and New Zealand — have blocked their local firms from using Huawei tech in building their 5G networks. The UK and Canada are under pressure to follow suit.

But a lot of these fears are misplaced and cutting Huawei out of the picture could backfire in the long run. …

Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

We usually interpret someone looking us straight in the eye during an interaction as a sign of trustworthiness. In fact it can be rather unsettling when someone avoids eye contact. This is at least the case in the Western world, where we use eye contact as a marker of honesty and straightforwardness — taking it as a positive attribute, particularly in those we do business with.

But research is increasingly challenging this standard view. Our study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, shows quite the opposite: in a competitive environment where a negotiation is taking place, looking at…

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The new Formula One season has kicked off with the Australian Grand Prix. Like every year, there are changes afoot: new drivers, tweaks in vehicle aerodynamics, revised rules and regulations. But behind the scenes, another transformation is taking place. In both the UK Motorsport Valley and the Italian Motor Valley — the two regions where the main players are clustered — companies have been reinventing themselves for the digital era and selling their tech know-how to other sectors.

Formula One race cars are the most technologically advanced cars in existence. Every car is equipped with 120 sensors which generate over…

With Brexit and trade wars looming, Ireland’s economic ties with the US and UK are in question

This Sunday is Saint Patrick’s Day, the Republic of Ireland’s national day. Saint Patrick’s Day marks the death of the patron saint of Ireland, who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country and … banishing snakes. The day was traditionally a quiet religious affair in Ireland. It went up a notch with the introduction of the Dublin parade in 1931 but has become even bigger since the 1980s.

However, although an Irish holiday, one could easily have thought that it is in fact an American one. It is arguably in the US where Saint Patrick’s Day is most widely…

Three tips for women in the workplace

“Life is not fair; get used to it.” The famous first rule of Bill Gates’s “11 rules you will never learn in school” resonates with everybody, but probably more with women than men. According to the Global Gender Gap Index, 108 years are needed to close the global gender gap. While classical economic models predict that discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as gender should naturally disappear thanks to competition, reality seems to tell a different story.

The lack of women in male-dominated and high-paying industries such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is often cited as a…

How women can find the power to positively influence their careers

Women are making headway in terms of access to and representation in leadership roles. Consequently, organizations are discovering how and why diversity creates value, both in terms of creativity as well as profitability and long-term sustainability. Despite the progress of the past decades, the ratio of women to men in the C-suite — in even the most developed economies — is dismally low. In 2018, there were only 24 women CEOs leading FT500 companies. …

How to reap the full benefits of gender diversity

Many countries have imposed quotas or targets for the proportion of women in the boardroom, including Norway, Finland, France and Spain, where boards must be 40% female. But many nations do not impose financial penalties for non-compliance, including Switzerland, which passed a law in 2018 that requires boards to be 30% female. As we know, incentives to change matter. When penalties are more severe, the speed at which gender equality is achieved increases.

There are many benefits for companies that appoint more women onto their boards. For one, post-quota female directors have more social capital than men — bigger and…

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