3 Key Takeouts from International Women’s Day 2020
It’s very easy to use International Women’s Day (IWD) as a tick box exercise – a way for companies to let themselves off the hook in terms of ensuring there’s diversity in the workplace and that women’s voice are ‘heard’. At the EachForEqual breakfast panel chaired by Nelson Bostock and moderated by Brenda Juliet, we discussed clear initiatives about how company culture can change to ensure more inclusivity, fairer work practices and less bias.
So here are 3 Things to take out in terms of introducing a fairer and more equal company culture.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about money. Sometimes women have a natural fear of being seen as pushy, aggressive and have been trained to be ‘likeable’ and easy to get on with. This means conversations around pay can be extremely tricky. The panel agreed that talking about this with your line manager is the only way forward. If women don’t ask for better pay then they remain in a situation where they are paid less than their male counterparts. So the first learning is ASK and ACCEPT that the conversation might be awkward. Try and channel someone inspirational that is bossing it if you can.
- Institute change at the top. It’s important that there are aspirational role models at the top of organisations to reassure and inspire women further down the line. Old school, rigid, masculine codes are not always what women aspire nowadays to so it’s important that you promote a diverse range of managerial styles too (it’s more about the culture and less about the specific gender- you can of course be a female manager who isn’t functioning as a supportive and empathetic leader or is guilty of judging women differently too)
- Remember parenting is not a luxury and parents can bring a lot to the table employee wise. Don’t see mothers as compromises. If you are a mother then don’t apologise. Mothers bring lots of positive values to a company and there’s a need to start unpacking some of the biases against women who choose to work and be parents. Many of these judgements aren’t angled at Dads who seem to be able to continue their career pretty much as they were before becoming parents. Flexible working and a supportive and empathetic work culture is key in retaining female talent. Also remember that flexible working practices aren’t just beneficial for parents- they work for lots of people and make the employer brand feel modern, responsive to change and ‘on point’.
So there you go. Whilst panels are great the most important thing is instituting change long term. So don’t be afraid to be a trail blazer!