You can put out all the women-centric hashtags in the world like #WomenInSTEM to #PressforProgress and #WCS (Women Crush Wednesday) and others and while there is so much more talk about gender today more than ever before, but there is difference between the noise and real talk. Most women leaders in the corporate agree that the biggest area companies need to focus on is the organizational culture. Becky Frankiewicz, President, North America, ManpowerGroup, says, “My experience has taught me that if companies address culture as a priority in their business, we would accelerate progress. Quickly. While encouraging women to lean in and raise their hands higher can help, we must place equal focus on employers to take action and fix the problem.”
Flexibility at work must extend to men and women and people are looking for this increasingly
Today, women want to be challenged professionally, trained to take on bigger responsibilities, and have flexibility when they want, but companies still want employees to consume work like the previous generations. Today, the dichotomy of paid and unpaid work is making waves across the world and the world is waking up to the fact that women are doing as much as double the unpaid work a man does, hence, it is vital that paid jobs come with the flexibility. “While women continue to do most of the emotional labor and unpaid work at home, it’s critical that challenging work comes with flexibility. More and more women are taking their careers into their own hands – 40% of US businesses are women-owned and the number of female entrepreneurs has skyrocketed by 114% in the last two decades,” adds Frankiewicz. Moreover, this flexibility needs to extend to men too and this is what women want, so women are looking more than money when it comes to working for a company. They also want to be encouraged to take on leadership roles and don’t want to be stuck in traditionally gendered roles like HR, communication, and support.
Companies should give employees the necessary tech training they need to be future-ready
Women also want the workplace to address the double gender-skills gap in STEM and therefore, even though women might not be educated in something like computer science, for example, the focus of companies should be to better adapt education to equip people for jobs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if companies gave all employees some form of tech training in order to make them more future-ready in terms of skills? The future is a skills world and therefore, as new technologies make their way into organizations, all groups need to be included to ensure that the technology is implemented appropriately. In addition to this, companies need to practice what they preach when it comes to diversity and inclusion because for too long there are been only talk and no do. Frankiewicz added, “We know from our own research that the key to improving these odds lies with senior leaders – male and female – to ensure women are not left behind. As leaders, we all need to demonstrate this is a business priority – by what we say, what we do, what we measure, and how we lead.”
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