Larissa Best of Equilibre is seen during the Arch Summit Luxembourg in May 2018. Photo credit: Anthony Dehez
Larissa Best, director of Equilbre, a thinktank focused on gender equality issues, gives Luxembourg a report card, talks about the “My Pledge” project to ensure diversity on conference panels, and shares her favourite pizza joint in the US.
Aaron Grunwald: If you had to give a report card on gender equality in 2018, what grade would you give Luxembourg?
Larissa Best: There is always a lot to be done and still remains to be done in Luxembourg. However, there is a real commitment from many stakeholders (both political and economic backgrounds) to become more proactive. We still need to work on gender equality in middle management, senior management and on boards. However, the flexibility of parental leave has opened this option up to a lot of dads who would have not usually taken parental leave. A lot of long standing societal beliefs keep some men from being more present at home such as wanting to leave early to attend a child’s recital. If the usual answer in companies is still: ‘Why? Can’t your wife go?’, we are not helping dads to be more present at home. On a positive note, the pay gap has always been low and continues to be one of the lowest in the world. I would give Luxembourg a B+ for some great efforts but quite some air left to become an even better role model.
AG: What was your personal highlight of the year?
LB: This year has overall been amazing. We launched My Pledge and have a lot of traction. As a startup and as a social entrepreneur, there are always challenges but we overcame them nicely. I have been speaking at many conferences, but the one I liked best and which left the best impression was the Rise Up Summit in Cairo. An amazing dynamic in Egypt and extremely friendly people.
AG: Did any cultural or social event in Luxembourg stand out for you?
There are so many great events in Luxembourg, it is really hard to pick one. I really love the startup apéros by Charles-Louis [Machuron], I really enjoyed The Network’s Cross-Culture Gender Forum and was impressed by the first Lux4GoodHackathon for Good. We have created an amazing network of great events for all types of communities which contributes directly to the attractiveness of the eco-system.
AG: Where did you enjoy your best meal of 2018?
LB: Tough one, but I would say that I had the most amazing pizza at Rubirosa Pizza in Nolita, Manhattan, New York.
AG: What’s the biggest item right now on your agenda for 2019?
LB: Equilibre is building a new platform for My Pledge which is going to help companies figure out where their employees speak and whether there was diversity on the panel or at the conference. This is a project that came out of the Hackathon4Good and we are really grateful to InTech for helping us with it.