It’s 2017 – why are we talking about gender equality!?
Gender equality in the workplace has been a battle for many years and we have come a long way. A hundred years ago there is no way that I, a female with Asian heritage, would have been able to start a company with another woman, have children and be able to write about it all so publicly. Today, women can fight on the front line, vote, pick our partners for ourselves and compete in any arena.
However, is it right that we’re still celebrating and shouting about a woman becoming CEO of a FTSE 100 company? Should advanced maternity leave benefits be so rare that they gain press coverage? Is it acceptable that Equal Pay Day is even in the diary?
Have we, as a society, come so far in balancing the rights of men and women, that we have taken our foot off the gas and become fixated on talking about change, rather than implementing it?
Today is Equal Pay Day – the day women in the UK stop being paid for the year, compared to their male counterparts. Earlier in the year, the BBC’s gender pay gap was reported to be so large that it hit 9.3%, with its highest paid male presenter earning £1.7m more than its highest paid female presenter. We have a problem.
But this is about so much more than just pay. This is about the treatment of women in the workplace. This is about human behaviour.
Workplace culture may seem like a buzzword, but getting it right is no mean feat. And keeping it right is another mission all together. But the benefits, the outputs and the return on that investment will be undeniable.
Our best business leaders create working environments that understand the challenges of today’s world. That means recognising the many life stages that workers go through – buying their first house, having a child, adopting, looking after sick parents, getting divorced – and also considering their mental and physical wellbeing, the cost of living, the challenges of being a working parent and the value that women can bring to a business.
So, go out and create female champions in your workplace. Create an atmosphere that shows other women that there is a place for them at the top of the business. Invest in all staff, recognise talent and know that bringing working mothers back in to the office can bring a new perspective. Pay fairly. Recognise equality in people. Celebrate people for their successes. Gender shouldn’t matter.
For now, we have to shout about these things in the pursuit for a fair working world. So yes, it is 2017, and we’re still celebrating the achievements of women because we should. Be a company that is talked about for all the right reasons. Take action, don’t just talk about it.
If you’re on a mission to create a great place to work and want to ensure you’re doing all you can to create an equal workplace, get in touch with the JourneyHR team.