Catalyst Elevates Empathy as a Business Skill this International Women’s Day


Catalyst is celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 by reimagining the CEO title—as Chief Empathy Officer—to encourage leaders and employees at all levels to lead with empathy and build inclusive cultures within their organizations.

When Catalyst started in 1962, Help wanted ads were separated by gender and race.

Fast forward sixty years, and bias has continued to fuel invisible barriers for women on their way to the top. Skills traditionally considered “feminine,” like empathy, are still deemed inappropriate for leadership.

Catalyst research proves that our biases are all wrong. A culture of empathic leadership is key to supporting gender equity at work and contributes to more inclusive workplace experiences. Empathy is actually one of the most crucial leadership skills—one that everyone is capable of learning.

Want to be a CEO (Chief Empathy Officer)?

Catalyst invites companies and individuals to participate in the campaign today in advance of International Women’s Day on March 8 by:

  • Taking the Catalyst IWD empathy quiz;
  • Adding “Chief Empathy Officer” to your LinkedIn title;
  • Creating custom CEO Magazine covers using the photo uploader tool and sharing them across social media platforms using #BiasCorrect.

For leaders and managers, empathy is a critical workplace skill that has the potential to reduce burnout and improve employee engagement and retention. The data shows that employees with highly empathic senior leaders report higher levels of creativity (61%) and engagement (76%) than those with less empathic senior leaders (13% and 32%, respectively).

“The pandemic has really shown us how critical it is for leaders to prioritize empathy and inclusion to improve workplace cultures,” said Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO of Catalyst. “Building more equitable workplaces has always required empathy, and so as Catalyst reimagines the workplace on International Women’s Day, we know that everyone, no matter their title, can be a Chief Empathy Officer.”

Catalyst is a global nonprofit working with some of the world's most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with pioneering research, practical tools, and proven solutions to accelerate and advance women into leadership - because progress for women is progress for everyone. Catalyst has been an International Women's Day Charity of Choice since 2017.



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