On March 8th the world celebrated International Women’s Day, a day that I have only recently come to realise, began back in 1909!
The day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women.
I am writing about it today from a business perspective, and more specifically, women in business.
International Women’s Day has got me thinking particularly because I have seen a number of my female friends struggle to re-enter the workforce for both full time and part time positions, not due to a lack of desire, rather a lack of job offers. These women are intelligent, organised and talented. So much so that one friend, after searching 2 years to be accepted for a full time job became employee of the month after only her first 2 months in the role! Makes me think that there are a lot of women out there that can apply their skill and knowledge to serve the organisations that are currently turning them away. The means by which they can apply their skill may require more flexibility than the traditional route, but I would have thought with mobile technology these days, most businesses could manage it.
With an aging workforce too, it seems to make sense that we should focus on practical ways to support and encourage more women to take part in the workforce (read the Intergenerational report). After all women make up half of the population. Furthermore, an analysis of the top Fortune 500 companies found that those companies with the greatest representation of women performed better, with return to shareholders 34% higher than those companies with the lowest representation of women. Better workforce participation and productivity ensures our standard of living is retained and possibly improved.
One way to support more women back into the workforce is by creating as much flexibility as possible for parents in the workforce, not only women. I think working Dad’s would enjoy and benefit from being able to take on an equal share of child rearing and caring. I think society would benefit too.
Ultimately, gender parity in the workforce is more about attitude and the unintentional bias we may hold regarding the roles of men and women, in both the home and work place
I found the attached article interesting and particularly like the approach that Kim Hee-Jung, Minister for Gender Equality in South Korea takes.
True Gender Equality can only be achieved when we help both Men and Women reach Work Life Balance and we can only do this when we change our preconceptions.