How to Win the Battle of the Numbers

Balancing the positions held by men and women above mid-management is the major challenge left in businesses today. Men still outnumber women at the top of virtually every industry in America and it’s no different in Scandinavia, long considered the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to equality of the sexes.

After a long career in television and publishing in her native Sweden, Eva Swartz Grimaldi along with two partners used her considerable clout to launch a progressive campaign to get Sweden’s mutli-national companies to listen to the women they already employed, to increase the input of women, and strengthen the pipeline to the C-suite and the Board.

 On May 6th Kim Kadlec, AOL's new Head of Relationship Management and former Chief Media Officer of Johnson & Johnson, interviewed Ms. Swartz Grimaldi about the outcome of Battle of the Numbers–the innovative initiative to get CEOs to take notice of the women around them at such huge companies as Skanska, IKEA, H&M, Saab, Volvo and others. Of the ten companies only two had women CEOs. Each company selected 10 women, from up-and-coming talent to top managers. In total, 100 chosen women worked as internal consultants for a year. (The initial program ended in Nov. 2013)

At the end, the companies were left with achievable goals, to, in some cases, change company culture, in others to build on what they were already doing well. As one CEO put it, paraphrased by Eva, his company should be recruiting from 100% of the talent pool not only 50%. A full summary of Battle of the Numbers can be found online

 The AWM audience asked a number of questions about bringing the same concepts to their own work places. Both Kim and Eva spoke about their own careers negotiating with men and being great believers in mentoring women around them. Eva also suggested creating sponsorship opportunities, to pair with someone within your company who can help champion you or whom you can champion on their way up, depending on your level at work. A champion is more than a mentor–the champion makes your success, her success as well.

One question that came “Should we worry about becoming the "old girls club?" Eva strongly said no because “we don't want a bubble of women." She said all this work is about making work more creative, more diverse, and more equitable not reversing gender parity.

By the way, Eva was introduced to the Alliance by member, Ellen Politi with Telemundo who has known Eva through international television conferences. If you know of a great speaker to add to our events, please contact AWM at [email protected]

Return to list