“We should be ashamed that in 2017 people feel they can’t be themselves at work”, Beale told more than 100 business leaders at a dinner hosted by Odgers Berndtson.
“It’s incumbent on all leaders, in sport, business, anywhere, to create environments in which employees feel supported when they ‘bring their whole selves to work’,” she said.
“The buck stops at the top.”
Speaking as one of a small pool of top female CEOs, Beale emphasised the importance of respecting and valuing contribution on performance.
“The real challenge is in senior executive roles, where we need a step change for women and all diversity candidates,” Kester Scrope, chief executive of Odgers Berndtson said.
“Embedding a more inclusive mind-set into organisations is a massive challenge, and leaders who have struggled themselves can be especially powerful agents of change,” he added.
The executive search firm yesterday released a corporate leadership barometer on the 20-year journey of gender representation in their workplace, which included individuals’ perspectives.
In July, The Pipeline’s women count report suggested that hitting the government’s target of FTSE 350 boards being 33% female by 2020 had become unlikely.