Every year on March 8, the world celebrates #InternationalWomensDay. Governments, organizations, and individuals come together to commemorate #women for their relentless drive, dedication, and accomplishments. We organize events, we give speeches, we buy them gifts, and we praise them, but at the end of the day, it is business as usual.
In 2019, less than half (47.7%) of the global women population participated in the labor force, which has been on a steady decrease since 1990. Even in 2020, only 33 women are CEOs of Fortune 500 organizations, and only 29% hold senior roles globally. The need of the hour is for a concerted effort to build a culture of #equality where individuals thrive, regardless of #gender.
I would say it is imperative to treat all colleagues as equals. An ideal situation is one where equality is the new normal, and Women’s Day is celebrated, not just earmarked as a day to demand equal representation. Here is my take on what organizations and individuals can do to achieve this ideal situation.
Today, 87% of global organizations are highly committed to gender diversity. The change is visible, but the question is whether it is impactful or not. Gender inequality starts with the hiring process. Rather than reserving a quota for women employees, companies should focus on hiring the individual with the right skill set for the job and giving the right pay regardless of gender. Management should impartially consider both men and women for #leadership roles, focusing on the merit and the commitment the individual brings to his/her job.
There is a lot of talk about work-at-home agents amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Analysts are recommending it, organizations are adopting it, and clients are favoring it. After all, the physical presence of an employee does not guarantee results and vice versa.
That said, why are flexible hours or work-from-home considered an exception when opted by a working mother? Work-life integration has become more important for employees than we can fathom. It minimizes stress, helps strike a balance between work and family life, and enables work across time zones. Work-life integration should not be treated as a favor by companies to their female employees but as a cultural priority that ensures their good health and well-being, safety, and #happiness.
Unbiased, Progressive, Transformative
Multiple studies are supporting the fact that women are a significant asset for every organization. Since they make up 50% of the consumer base, they should also make 50% of business decisions. It’s common sense. When corporate leaders make a conscious decision of hiring women, they are not only ensuring gender parity but also underlining their growth and expansion to a broader customer base.
When women are part of every team in every site in every region and every function, only then can an organization be considered a gender-diverse place.
Everyone needs to wake up to the fact that equality leads to growth. True equality happens when leaders enforce progressive, unbiased policies, and when organizations undergo a radical change.
Throughout recent history, organizations have adopted and deployed suitable mechanisms to boost #diversity. However, there is more to be done. When companies have a strong foundation, defined goals, transparent accountability, and support from every resource, they are in a better position to drive enterprise-wide change. To ensure women empowerment and gender equality in the workplace, diversity and inclusion efforts should shift from a good-to-have to a must-have practice.