“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” – Gloria Steinam
The lead up to International Women’s Day is a crescendo of online engagement, competing events and media commentary. We are winning the race to forge a gender equal world. As individuals we uplift others towards a more equal and inclusive workplace. We are playing our part. Or are we?
A recent report from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency reveals the measurable benefits of what true commitment to gender diversity can look like. And whilst employer focus on gender equality increases, the gender pay gap drops further as men still take home more than women on average.
The deeper-rooted problem of gender bias seems to be worsening, according to researcher and political scientist Blair Williams. In particular, coverage of women prime ministers focuses on their gender and appearance instead of their work and leadership.
There’s clearly more to do. With this in mind, we started a conversation with some of the team at Noetic about what IWD means to us and how we can play our part, long after the celebrations have come to a close.
What does IWD mean to you?
“IWD is a balance between celebrating the progress that has been made and acknowledging that fairness, parity, and equity are still some way off in many industries.” – Liana
“It’s a time to reflect on the things that influence our own point of view and style of leadership.” – Hannah
“International Women’s Day is a day to recognise the achievements of women and is an opportunity to advocate and demonstrate the value of women in leadership.” – Brittany
In the workplace, how can we model our support for gender equality?
“Promote good hiring practices and ensure that current and new staff are feeling included in their work. Ensure there are channels through which staff can communicate any issues or problems.” – David
“Educate our colleagues and be vocal about the great work our female staff are doing across the organisation.” – Brittany
“Strive to ensure participation for all events has a 50% female representation.”
“Treat people of all genders neutrally, focusing more on ideas and contributions than gender.”
“Continue to change the narrative on family-friendly policies and how we involve new fathers in workplace conversations. After all, we cannot focus on improving half of our population without including the other half.”
“See and treat men and women the same in our daily working environment, welcoming different personalities and accepting every individual’s uniqueness. As far as leadership roles, this should be based purely on skill set rather than gender.”
Is it about more than having equal representation in leadership roles?
“Yes, particularly with regards to parental leave. We must continue addressing the outdated concept of gender roles and emphasise the importance of child rearing to be shared equally between both genders. Both policy and cultural infrastructures must be considered.”
“It’s time for us all to tackle some of the more nuanced and complicated issues around unconscious bias and limiting expectations regarding women. This is difficult work. We need to ensure our internal work is undertaken with the highest level of integrity and model this with our clients to have more widespread influence on gender equality.” – Liana
“Workplace Gender Equality is not just about a quota or numbers, it is about being encouraged to go for leadership positions, being supported in those positions and being genuinely valued.”
What can we do beyond International Women’s Day?
Diversity without inclusion is not enough. Inclusion puts the concept and practice of diversity into action by creating an environment of involvement, respect, and connection.
Noetic has developed a practical model to accelerate building an inclusive workplace. It involves the following:
- making inclusive leadership a strategic goal;
- developing inclusive leaders who role-model inclusion;
- linking inclusion to high-performance teams;
- designing and funding initiatives to embed inclusion; and
- measuring impact
An equal world is an enabled world. We must continue to raise awareness against bias. Notice when women are not present or equal and call it out. When you hear gender stereotypes or bias speak up. Report advertising that objectifies women. Mentor a woman and help build her networks. Above all, listen more openly to everyone, all genders and respect and embrace difference.
Let’s all do what we can to make a positive difference for women everywhere. Participate this International Women’s Day and continue your efforts long after the celebrations have ceased.