But why is the movement needed in 2019 and what aspects of gender balance makes for better business?
We have come a very long way in the UK since Emmeline Pankhurst and the British Suffragette movement, but have we come far enough in the workplace?
From the small passive comments that are made when a woman returns to work post childcare… ‘Oh are you going back part-time?’ which is something I doubt men are asked as often, to the more serious: an article published recently by The Guardian revealed that the majority of crash-test dummies are based on the ‘average male’ stature of 1.77m tall and 76kg in weight – both taller and heavier than an average woman. The article goes on to explain that because tests are done using dummies which don’t reflect women’s bodies, women are in fact at much higher risk of severe injury in car crashes.
Improvement is needed. Whilst I don’t doubt that there are instances when males are disadvantaged – lack of baby change facilities in male toilets for one – in work places across the world the odds appear to be very much in favour of men when it comes to senior leadership roles and pay.
So what then can employers be doing to improve their gender balance and why is balance so important?
Workplaces can make the smallest of changes to improve their balance and attractiveness to all genders. Ensuring policies and processes are inclusive to all, creating internal mentorship schemes where junior employees can shadow senior executives to enable growth, empowering staff so that everyone has the ability to shape the company’s direction and have a say, un-biased recruitment that offers fairness to all and creating a positive work-life balance culture with flexibility are all relatively easy to implement to some extent.
Various research and articles suggest that balance in the workplace is better for business for a whole variety of reasons including:
• Better company performance
• Creative and diverse thinking
• Higher employee engagement
• Inclusive teams make better informed decisions
• Higher profits
Research by McKinsey & Co examined 1000 companies globally and their studies found those that had better gender diversity were also 21% more likely to enjoy higher profitability and interestingly ‘globally, women generate 37% of global GDP despite accounting for 50% of the global working-age population’.
Inspiring the next generation is also key to future success in getting balance right. There are various movements aspiring to do that such as Inspiring the Future and We Are The City which work to ensure that the sights of future generations are aimed high regardless of their gender.
At Inzpire we are currently 16% female and operating in a STEM environment. This percentage is about average for the UK, but we would love to improve that by attracting future talent that helps us bridge the balance. If you pride yourself on personal accountability, want to work where there is nowhere to hide, but plenty of space for you to stand out, and you are looking to forge a successful career in a dynamic expanding company, we want to hear from you! You can find out about all of our career opportunities on our careers page.