As we enter in the third month of 2018 and celebrate Women’s Day this year to appreciate the contribution & power of women around us and in our society. We retrospect with pride on the on the achievements which we could reap through our contribution in last couple of years to be more gender inclusive as a society. It wouldn’t be fair if I forget to mention that in spite of the progress in leaps and bounds. There still are hiatuses where we need to make some quick strides.
While the world is grappling with certain notions and coming up with strategies and initiatives to address the glaring biases like Perceived incompetence, development opportunities, Increased stress and pressure, Social Barriers: Family commitment. With global leaders and organizations joining hands to address the cause, the goal does not seem far-fetched. Yet, the work done by leaders and corporate houses would not suffice and each one of us would have to open our minds to the cause. After we take lead, it would be our duty to influence our Friends and family to join the movement.
United Nations has initiated a program “PressforProgress”, which emphasizes upon how we should not be complacent, and should give out a strong call to motivate and unite family, companions and whole society to think, act and be gender inclusive.
Once again various countries across the globe should recognize the Female Economic Activity The proportion of women entering and staying in the workforce is typically lower in developing economies, and even in some more developed countries, due to cultural and religious beliefs. Economically inactive women pose a financial burden on public finances, and as global demographics shift, more women will be forced to participate in the labor market. Some countries such as Chile & India have taken steps to improve childcare availability and extend maternity leave and paternity leaves. We at Schneider Electric take pride in having an all-inclusive Global Family leave. Those countries and corporations that choose not to act may find themselves at an economic and competitive disadvantage.
Diversity Will Continue to Drive Business Strategy
Corporations will continue to evolve their diversity and inclusion efforts as part of their business plans. A diverse workforce is pivotal to reflect as a global organization for a diverse customer base. It allows executives to understand their clients’ needs better and communicate more effectively. Additionally, diversity drives innovation and fosters competitiveness.
Companies should also focus on:
Build the business case for gender diversity
Using data and storytelling, companies should communicate the benefits that greater gender diversity. For example, greater gender equality can save financial and brand costs by avoiding discrimination lawsuits. Specifically, it is important to engage middle managers with hiring responsibilities as well as senior leaders (e.g., the CEO). They have a role model a commitment to gender diversity and equality.
Address gender biases through employee training to combat bias.
This has been happening, yet can be further accelerated and employees can be educated on unconscious basis. Also, how it influences decision making with regards to talent planning (e.g., hiring, promotions, etc.) and performance management. Additionally, companies can reinforce training material with aligned communication and behaviors by leaders; as such, the true effectiveness of training often lies in continuing the learning process after the training is over.
Counter a long history of emphasizing on masculine-typed competencies.
Companies can develop and adopt a new leadership model to create standards for evaluation. This refreshed leadership model should highlight female typed traits such as priority-setting, delegating, growing talent, collaborating, communicating through complex layers and having a global mindset. A model as such would expand the company’s profile of success to include traits, inherent strengths for both men and women.
In the end , Understanding of organizational and social barriers is helpful for diagnosing the current state of women’s career advancement. Continuous and special attention paid to the business case should be vested. Development programs and culture will enable organizations to shape workplaces that support women leaders. Women, in turn, add value to the business by bringing diverse perspectives and skill sets.
I would like to leave you with a thought. For how long will corporates or societies keep growing with a sizable population of women, not being part of the workforce. Growth story of India is not complete till the time our workplace and society becomes a totally gender inclusive place.
I wish all of you a Happy Women’s Day and urge you to #PressforProgress in your horizons.