Today is International Women’s Day, a date to celebrate the achievements of women and emphasise the need for gender parity in all walks of life. Although women account for 46% of the UK workforce, the median difference in pay between genders in 2020 was 15.9% (UK Gov).
This isn’t good enough.
Needless to say, any step towards positive change will take more than a single day to be an effective call to action - and that change can start with your business. There’s plenty you can do within your workplace alongside levelling pay to make sure that those identifying as women are given the opportunity to succeed. Here are a few ideas:
Be aware of gender bias and challenge stereotypes
This goes for both the way you personally treat those around you, and for organisational processes. Examine how outcomes could affect each gender in turn - could someone be negatively affected because of this? In short, it’s 2021 and gender stereotypes should be a thing of the past. This isn’t just asking a girl in your office to make you a cup of tea! An example of gender stereotyping might be to perceive ‘assertive’ behaviour in a man as “go-getting” and positive, whereas marking the same traits as ‘bossy’ in a woman.
Amplify and represent female voices
Make sure in meetings, those who identify as female get a fair say and recognition of their great work or ideas as they happen. Take representation into account when planning your outbound marketing campaigns. For example, make sure to portray female perspectives in advertising, and ensure any panels your company takes part in are of mixed gender.
Provide professional development opportunities
A report from Robert Walters found that 94% of women would consider mentoring programmes to be valuable in helping them develop their careers. Mirror this in your company by providing public speaking opportunities for female employees, mentorship programmes, or making sure there’s adequate opportunity for them to network with senior management.
Offer a flexible work environment
Of course we’re mostly working from home right now, but when “normality” resumes, make flexibility a priority. It’ll allow all of your employees (not just women) to find a better balance between their home and work lives, whilst also catering for parenting or caregiving responsibilities.
Open up your talent pipeline
A diverse workforce makes for diversity of thought. As of 2019, only 8 women (3.2%) held CEO roles in the FTSE 250 companies, with 18% in executive board member positions (Catalyst). Be sure to adequately advertise and interview any open roles to people from all genders and make sure future plans take into account opportunities for representation of women in higher positions in the company.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do as a business is wanting change to happen; setting goals for the future, putting processes in place and taking action.
Service Graphics proudly #ChooseToChallenge and call out gender bias and inequality as we see it. Do you?