A Gender Agenda – Championing Diversity at Work
11th March 2015 · Kevin Howes
Following International Womens Day this last Sunday, whereby people all over the globe took to celebrating strong, driven and earnest women, we have been reflecting on the current status of gender diversity at work but more specifically within Recruitment and the industry in which we operate; IT.
Gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of whether they are a man or a woman. And in our contemporary era, gender diversity holds more importance than simply promoting and mentoring female employees; it also means the inclusion of transgender or non – sexed employees in addition to the traditional cisgender roles of male and female.
Nevertheless, the saddening reality is that the alienation of women within any business, including that of Recruitment and Technology, still lingers. Despite contributing to 50% of the population, women in fact only make up 17% of the Board Directors of FTSE 100 companies. Moreover, it is claimed that up to 30,000 women are sacked each year simply for being pregnant and an estimated 440,000 women lose out on pay or promotion annually as a result of pregnancy. These statistics are striking, but perhaps more remarkable is the overwhelming calculation that the UK would gain up to £23 billion by better harnessing women’s skills in employment.
The Spice Girls – the very epitome of ‘Girl Power’
On Sunday, from Times Square billboards and magazine covers to online videos and social media, women disappeared and were replaced with the URL ‘notthere.org.’ The campaign set out to demonstrate that equality is still “not there”, both in supposedly more developed countries and those deemed underdeveloped, and to show it, some of the most iconic women around the world were “not there” either. This was supported by people/brands such as Amy Poehler, Sienna Miller, Cameron Diaz, Condé Nast and Kate Spade.
It seems obscene, and it is frightfully embarrassing, that in this age the nation should even feel the need to address that women and men should be treated equally as modern professionals, let alone praise companies for adhering to appropriate inclusion. This is not to say that women have not made great evolutionary strides within the workplace but ultimately, despite the vast historical advances that have been achieved and whilst females don’t necessarily have to throw themselves underneath a horse for a say nowadays, a covert stigma still persists, bubbling underneath the surface of an illusion of true equality.
Indeed there’s laws in place; the Equal Pay Act and the Equality Act amongst others, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody walks the walk in actuality and practice. Failing to embrace the fruits of gender diversity is consistently where the overwhelming majority of businesses fail to perform; even those that have engaged with the issue and speak about the need for change.
Richard Branson has spoken out about his views on egalitarianism in the workplace. “We’ve learned first – hand at Virgin how much female leaders can be critical to the success of a business,” the Virgin Founder wrote in a recent blog post. “Despite competing in sectors dominated by men in suits and ties, a number of our companies are helmed by female leaders and employ women in senior roles.” Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, also comments “Giving women the opportunity to achieve their potential must be at the heart of our approach to economic growth.”
Beyond the moral obligation, there’s proven advantages of mixed gender within the office. Companies cannot afford to ignore 50% of the potential workforce and expect to be competitive in the global economy. Gender diversity is an embroidery of varied perspectives and life experiences; it breeds innovation, produces a more holistic analysis of the issues an organisation faces which in turn leads to improved decision – making, and generally allows the company to serve an accordingly diverse customer base.
A work culture should entail meritocracy whereby ability and proficiency prevail. There should be no superiority associated with either gender but instead recognition of the attributes that togetherness brings to the workplace; a cross – pollination of knowledge, strengths and insight.
We praise and encourage all female talent that collectively helps to drive ITT’s success, sustained through promoting equal opportunities for leaderships in line with our company diversity policy. Following by example, one of our Directors happens to be a female and is well – respected, industry – proven and diligent in every way. Our attitude tailors down not just in to our staff regulations but in to the IT businesses that we practice with; when placing roles, candidates are always based on competencies and not gender preferences, helping women break past the glass ceiling and disrupt the stereotypical perception of testosterone – fuelled offices. After all, diversity cannot be achieved solely through striving to reflect other people’s experiences in our individual work, but by inviting those people into our businesses to do their work alongside us.
Indeed, the IT gender gap is still tremendously prevalent; it is no recent discovery that women are extremely under – represented in the IT industry. But encouraging the clients we work with to follow suit certainly works in their favour in the long run; when developing IT products in a digital world, diverse disciplines in the humanities, science, design and technology helps businesses empathise and connect with the desires of their consumers. If the information technology sector is the future then women absolutely cannot be excluded.
“You need diverse experiences to make diverse technologies,” Judy Wajcman has said (a sociologist at the London School of Economics whose new book ‘Pressed for time’ gives a gender analysis of the tech sector.) “If the people who are designing our technologies are a bunch of young white guys (because racial diversity is also under-represented) it is a very limited experience base.”
We are steadily hiring for our offices in both London and Reading, and subsequently require an array of talent to strengthen our already – forceful team. We advocate that anybody can flourish here, given the appropriate attitude and characteristics. Climb up the career ladder with us, whatever – the – gender!
Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org: enquiries regarding Recruitment Consultant opportunities.
– Shonagh Phillips, Communications Manager