This month we celebrate International Women’s Day, as part of Women’s History Month.
International Women’s Day is about “celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality” (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/).
IWD has occurred for well over a century (with the first meeting being in 1911!), and during that time it has seen various campaigns supported by many globally. The main aim of IWD is to try to create a more equal world by increasing visibility of inequality and calling it out!
Whilst plenty of progress has been made, the “ideal world” where women are given equal opportunities to men, especially in the workplace, still remains out of reach. I recently read a Forbes article which suggested that “women leaders are notably more holistic in their approach balancing financial and performance results with the goal of increasing diversity on leadership teams, and driving positive change”, so surely its beneficial to have more women in play!
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides a yearly report on the gender pay gap and suggested that over the year 2020, the pay gap had increased to 15.4% from 14.9% - although still being down from 17.4% in 2019. This data doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but the suggestion is that the pandemic exacerbated the gap, with predominantly women being placed on furlough, and genuine disruption to the market in terms of wages and hours worked – again mostly towards women.
Whilst we have to take this data with a pinch of salt (due to the turmoil of the past couple of years), it is clear that not just pay parity, but also equal opportunities available to women is still not where it needs to be and there is a worry that we might have taken one step back.
Did you read about the Pay Gap Twitter bot? In connection with IWD and the 2022 campaign to #BreakTheBias, the Twitter bot was targeting companies who were tweeting and posting on social media in support of IWD with details of their gender pay gap!
The account '@PayGapApp' retweeted tweets from law firms and other companies with an auto-response detailing their median hourly pay gap using data from the UK government website.
The banner on the Bot’s profile was “stop posting platitudes. Start fixing the problem”! and whilst slightly confrontational, it is exactly why IWD was created – to call out the inequalities!
IWD also coincides this year with the Government launching a pay transparency pilot scheme, where participating employers will list salary details on job adverts and stop asking about salary history during recruitment. This initiative is based around the fact that evidence suggests that listing a salary range on a job advert supports women to negotiate fair pay – so even Boris is getting involved!
The conclusion: create more opportunity for a balanced workforce at your company as evidences suggests that you will reap the rewards! Allow not just more opportunity for women to succeed, but also for people of colour and those from the LGBTQ+ community. After all, that’s what Diversity, Inclusion and Equality is about.
Be like the Twitter Bot - “stop posting platitudes. Start fixing the problem”.
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