TalentInternational Women’s Day: How far have we come?

International Women's Day: How far have we come?

Today marks this years International Women's Day, we look back on what progression has been made for women in the world of work.

In recent times we have seen major improvements in gender balance for many organisations and industries, with campaigns such as the #MeToo movement and the Google Walkout last year. We have seen positive steps made in the right direction for Women in the Workplace, however how far has it come?

In the past few years, we have seen a plethora of women in the HR industry have an influential impact in this sector. With women like Karin Volo, Lucy Adams, and Tara Mansfield being included in a list of the Top 15 most influential women in HR.

Perkbox who put together this list, rationalised the importance of these women in HR, saying “Since the term ‘human resources’ was first coined in the ‘80s, women have played instrumental roles in the space. As one of the few white-collar professions to have achieved something along the lines of gender parity, we wanted to shine a light on those leading the charge.”

In addition to the successes from these women being in these positions and having this consistent impact in the HR industry. In recent times we’ve also seen huge progression made in many other sectors of work. Today instantprint analysed 20 years of UK labour market data to reveal where the newest opportunities are opening up for women and where potential career paths may exist for women entering the workforce.

Amongst the fastest growing industries for women included Transport support, Computer programming, and Head office management, with all three of these growing significantly. Head of HR at instantprint, Vicki Russell, commented on this research “This data provides up-to-date insight into new career opportunities for women. We undertook the analysis to highlight to those establishing a career or starting out on the road to developing their own business where exciting opportunities exist. The results highlight the changing face of women in the workplace and also indicate where more needs to be done to balance gender in the UK’s workforce. This should prompt companies to assess their own gender diversity gaps, and consider how they can improve, while also highlighting to women where they can look to for expanding industries to work in.”

Although this gender balance has advanced significantly, International Women’s Day can still hold a day of significance to many, as it gives employees and organisations alike to look forward to consistently improving this gender balance.

Wendy Warham, VP Hybrid Infrastructure Services and Networks & Telecoms, EMEIA, DTS, Fujitsu Services shared her thoughts on what this year’s IWD means to her “Driving gender equality within an organisation is about being courageous and transparent enough to face difficult questions on the topic – for which there are plenty. As Fujitsu’s Women in Business executive sponsor for our Women’s Business Network, and given my role on the company’s diversity council, I’m committed to making sure that we, as a company, do the right thing to ensure we are representative on behalf of our workforce. I’m currently looking at what I should be listening out for, ensuring I do my part to drive the right actions at board level and throughout the organisation. Recently for instance, I had some really productive conversations with top executives at Fujitsu about how we can collaborate to ensure we’re continuously looking for tangible ways to make a real difference to employees.

Although there are many organisations like Fujitsu Services who are committed to constantly make this change. Research from Hays has found that there are still many employers who don’t seem to be as committed to making this change. As out of respondents of the survey, 32% of participants agreed to their companies having a lack of commitment to this cause. In addition to this research, Hays also found that 39% of women were more likely to believe that there was a need for improvement in comparison to 23% of men revealing women 39% were more likely to believe there was a need for improvement, versus 23% of men.

Sandra Henke, Hays Group Head of People & Culture, commented on the results, “With International Women’s Day taking place this month, it is good to see that businesses are seen to be striving to achieve gender balance for better in their workplaces, however, it is concerning to see that equal pay is still seen as an issue which isn’t being tackled by employers. It’s important employers listen to the concerns of their employees and that they are clearly communicating the actions they are taking to achieve parity within their business. More progress needs to be made to truly achieve gender equality in the workforce and it is beneficial to all. The business case for diversity is strong, not only does a pipeline of female talent broaden the talent pool, it strengthens the problem-solving abilities of an organisation, with a greater range of knowledge and experience to be shared.”

So although the positioning of gender balance does still have some issues, it is positive that these movements are being acknowledged, and many changes are being constantly made to aid this issue.

Wendy ended by discussing the importance of this years tagline, saying “this year’s IWD’s tagline – #BalanceforBetter – couldn’t be more relevant in today’s business landscape: driving the gender diversity agenda is not just as simple as promoting more women, it’s about getting the right balance in teams, the boardroom and across the whole organisation. Ensuring gender diversity internally isn’t down to just one person or department – it’s about looking at what we can do together to create a better environment in which women can succeed. But in order to make that change, you need everyone to feel connected.”

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