Allez les Filles
Are you celebrating International Women’s Day? It's all happening this week, on March 8th, and we've been busy working out ways in which we can lend our support.
There are more women in positions of power than ever before, but the gender equality gap is still a yawning chasm. Reports this year suggest women in the UK are losing out on approximately £140 billion each year compared to their male counterparts.
Stereotypes in our age
It is our responsibility as business leaders to do all in our power to bridge that gap and one way to do that is to challenge the many stereotypes that still exist in this the 21st century.
One of the most obvious stereotypes commonly heard in offices across the globe is the simple act of using the feminine voice as an insult. Sadly, this happens more often than you might think and it's precisely this lack of thought which allows it to creep into our working lives. Doing things like a girl... from catching, to driving... you will have almost certainly heard someone refer to some ineffectual attempt to so something as being done like a girl/woman/or worse.
These comments are often throwaway and may in the past have been referred to as banter or causal office chat. In the age of #MeToo and #PressforProgress, however, perhaps we could consider sending the message out loud and simple that statements like that are offensive and not to be tolerated.
Addressing gender stereotypes head on
When it comes to laying down the law, it's all a matter of procedure. Before you get the staff handbook out and take a red marker to it, it might be a good idea to consult those actually at stake. Why not use International Women's Day as an opportunity to hear from the women in your organisation? Maybe send out a memo, or post something on the notice board, asking for suggestions and ideas on how your organisation can improve its attitude to gender equality... or at least get the ball rolling.
The curse of ‘Mansplaining’
Another relatively recent trend to keep an eye on, is the phenomenon known as Mansplaining. For anyone still on dial-up or who has recently come out of a prolonged coma... Mansplaining is a term used to describe the pointless and patronising practice of needlessly explaining something to a female colleague. One could argue that this is something we have all had to put up with at some stage, but it's also worth mentioning that women in particular have had to deal with this annoying habit so often it's now recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary.
Once again, the answer could be as simple as giving your staff handbook a bit of a spruce up to make sure it's not something you are expecting your staff to tolerate in today's working environment.
Coaching is another valuable way to get the message across that gender inequality is on your company's radar. It can be a powerful tool to open the debate further and encourage those struggling to speak up. Coaching can offer a voice to those more used to settling with the status quo and a coach should be able to pick up on any internal struggles not immediately obvious to someone on the outside.
To the future
On behalf of CoachDirectors, we would like to wish women everywhere a happy International Women's Day come March the 8th and we hope that in the future there will be more successes to celebrate.
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It's a call to action for accelerating gender parity and a collective day of global celebration.
#PressforProgress is their 2018 social media campaign designed to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.