Gender parity discussions are nothing new; they are debates that have been evolving for the last 100 years, but it is true there seems to be a renewed momentum and real change afoot. However, we need to be sure that now isn’t the moment that breeds complacency, that people already feel the message is out there and the job is done. More than ever, and as stated by the International Women’s Day, we have to stay motivated because nothing will change overnight but that doesn’t mean the slow and steady gains society has made aren’t significant.
Being a woman leader, my message to others is very closely related to that of this year’s theme for International Women’s Day: we must always keep pressing ahead. Unfortunately, the world isn’t a perfect place and change takes time. But think how far we have come since a century ago, and how much more we can still achieve if we keep on going.
And with every new event that changes and shapes the debate, we encourage women to feel empowered. While it may not be tangible, increased confidence in our power to change things can stem from something small like a hashtag. Through events such as these, women know that they are part of the change and feel empowered to do more. It’s a snowball effect that will continue gathering until we see true equality. And so my advice to women would be to get involved in the conversation, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, and never forget how significant even a small contribution can be.
Here at ADP, we work hard to implement a number of resources that we think help women to contribute and grow their voice in the ongoing debate. Our diversity programmes include the International Women’s Inclusion Network which aims to engage and equip women to achieve personal and professional success, as well as another group focused on Women in Leadership, specifically dedicated to promoting leadership and career advancement opportunities for executive women. We are very proud of our strong female representation in management roles at ADP which currently stands at 54%, and feel this is a testament to the success of our diversity programmes.
All of these initiatives, big and small, are imperative in continuing the debate and delivering results. I would encourage HR professionals to get involved in promoting these initiatives within their workplace, and to start something similar if it doesn’t already exist. International’s Women Day is important for shining a light on the issue, but change will only come from sustained discussion and action.