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PwC Canada, a member firm of the second-largest services firm in the world, is one of the most recent organizations to sign Minerva’s diversity pledge, committing to gender parity at the leadership level. And although the partnership with Minerva is new, the organization’s work towards furthering gender parity is not. 

“We’ve seen a significant benefit, that diversity and inclusion are great for businesses. We’re ensuring that with inclusion, not only will you have a seat at the table, you’ll have a voice,” says Jim McGuigan, PwC’s Managing Partner of the BC Region. “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity we’re demonstrating, and it provides great results.”

On a global level, PwC Canada is a founding 10x10x10 IMPACT Champion of UN Women’s global movement for gender equity, a program which includes 10 heads of state, 10 universities, and 10 corporations that have made public commitments with respect to gender equity.

In Canada, the firm is helping women break through the glass ceiling with their Women in Leadership (WIL) program. The program, which started out as an internal program, has quickly expanded. PwC has opened up WIL to include external attendees including clients and the business community to share in the positive impact it’s had in advancing and retaining top talent. McGuigan says they want to ensure they’re extending these insights to others, and evidently, this high level of commitment is yielding tangible results.

“If we take a look at our firm’s revenue growth in BC this past year, the two areas in which we achieved the highest growth rates were our consulting group and our private client services group — and both of those groups are led by women,” said McGuigan. “I think about it this way: if we overlooked these leaders, would we have achieved such strong results?” McGuigan added. 

McGuigan’s own extended leadership group has a 50/50 gender split. What’s more, PwC Canada has an ongoing aspirational goal to reach 50/50 with respect to partner admissions across the country — a goal which the company is determined to fulfill.

Despite a trend towards progress in gender equity, McGuigan acknowledges the hurdles that his and other organizations must face head-on in order to continue the positive momentum.

To this end, he says organizational leaders need to prioritize diversity and inclusion as part of an overall business strategy and consider workplace flexibility factors for all parents, regardless of gender, in addition to taking stock of our unconscious biases. McGuigan thinks that his firm’s approach to inclusion will continue making progress in overcoming these hurdles.

Of course, progress doesn’t happen overnight. Reversing centuries of gender bias requires long-term, generational commitments. McGuigan credits his firm’s commitment to achieving gender equity with his team’s successes, and knows that it’s up to him and his leadership team to ensure the positive momentum continues in BC.

“When I look at where we’re at today, it’s a reflection of what we’ve done in the past – we’re seeing the benefits today of the things we did well over a decade ago. So, for us to continue this positive journey, we need to look at things we do that are going to benefit us down the road.”

On top of signing Minerva’s Diversity Pledge, PwC Canada also supports: MovetheDial (founding member), WeforShe, are members of Catalyst globally, and in Canada are signatories of the Catalyst Accord. PwC Canada supports Minerva’sLearning to Lead™ Program, which provides Grade 11 girls an opportunity at self-discovery, develop confidence and explore their leadership potential.

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