It's been more than 100 years since International Women’s Day was first recognised in 1911. In that time there has been important progress in improving the rights and standards of living for women and girls around the world; however, there is still much work to be done. The IWD2016 theme #pledge for parity is a call to action to both indivuduals and organisations. Collectively we can accelerate the pace of change by making the five pledge actions come to life.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimate that at the current pace of change gender parity will not be achieved till 2133, which is actually a disappointing slow down from last years WEF estimate of 2095. And yet we know that increasing female labour force participation rate to match that of men will have a positive impact on GDP in both developed and developing economies. Either way, most of us don't have another 100 odd years to wait to enjoy the social, economic and personal benefits of gender equality.
So what can we do to create a new collective energy that drives timely change?
There are five #pledges for parity which address different areas and contributing factors to gender inequality:
- Help women and girls to achieve their ambitions
Individuals can assist in advocating by sponsoring women to achieve their goals.
Organisations must illuminate the path to leadership, showing women career and advancement opportunities that match their abilities and professional objectives and provide women with experiences that can help them to reach their full potential.
- Challenge conscious and unconscious bias
Individuals can study their own biases, then adjust their behaviour as required and finally welcome different experiences and perceptions.
Organisations must build cultures where all employees feel valued and included and can participate fully according to their capabilities.
- Call for gender balanced leadership
Individuals can demonstrate that they value gender-balanced leadership to their current employers. They can seek out leadership, mentoring and development opportunties, and participate in integrated networks which provide development, support and profile raising initiatives.
Organisations must ensure that women are provided experience in strategic operations and functions to help them gain the skills needed for senior positions and set measurable targets for appointing women to leadership.
- Value women and men’s contribution equally
Individuals can seek to understand different perspectives to their own and prioritise creating diverse teams through engaging in mixed networks.
Organisations must guarantee that their talent processes are equitable, fair and that they further their gender parity and diverse objectives.
- Create Inclusive flexible cultures
Individuals can help create a trusting and team-orientated work environment by fostering flexible working choices in terms of the times and places work gets done.
Organisations need to recognise that an individual’s career and personal life have become more fluid. The need to create progressive practices that support flexible working and allow everyone to better manage their personal and professional lives and realize their ambitions.
Pledges can be made and shared on the official International Women's Day website.
At A-HA! we've experienced first hand the impact that each one of these initiatives can have on changing organisational culture and boosting diversity and inclusion. We've worked closely with our clients to do just this and you can read more about our stories of what has worked well here.
The power of the five pledges is that they provide a collective focus on areas of impact that drive real change. But as no two individuals or organisations are the same the pledges will be implemented differently by everyone. There is no 'one size fits all' solution when it comes to diversity and unleashing human potential so we encourage you to craft a strategy for action authentic to your organisation which brings to life the pledges. If you's like to collaborate with other people working on the same issues or need a helping hand join us at one of our Learning Labs or contact us for a chat.
Let's celebrate #IWD2016 by taking up the call for action together and making a #pledgeforparity. We've made ours and hope you do too.