This week at Wundamail HQ, we’ve been investigating the behavioural science behind gender attitudes in the workplace in attempt to understand the issues women are facing in business this year. With a focus on job security, climbing the career ladder or imposter syndrome, we’ve hunted for this month’s most inspirational articles for bridging the gender gap in the modern workforce.
Click to read: 5 Strategies for Creating an Inclusive Workplace
Pooja Jain Link, Julia Taylor Kennedy and Trudy Burgeois examine five ways for businesses to create more inclusive and diverse workplaces, specifically for black women who are rarely given leadership positions in the workplace. Harvard business review claims that 46% of their ideas aren’t recognised, which is a major hindrance for their career progression. Building a diverse recruitment, recognising bias, practising inclusive leadership, providing sponsorship programmes and holding leaders accountable are vital for an inclusive culture. Inclusion is not merely a ‘tick-box’ activity, it’s essential for companies to gain insight and innovation to meet the requirements of all of their customers. While it’s important to ensure diversity is met during the recruitment stages, it’s equally as important for people to feel included in the company. This philosophy needs to be channelled by leaders and managers who can then inspire their team to be inclusive.
Click to read: The Reskilling Revolution Can Transform the Future of Work for Women
Technology is expanding while the digital skills gap is widening. Miki Tsusaka poses the question about how organisations should provide appropriate digital training programmes for employees for the ‘reskilling revolution’. According to Pew Research centre, 54% of employees need retraining in their digital skills to keep up to date with the demands of their job. For women on maternity leave, retraining in digital skills would provide considerable comfort- those returning to work who might need to familiarise themselves with any new or upcoming technology. Tsusaka argues that companies that provide their employees at all levels with the latest digital skills will be more likely to thrive. If funding is put into training and resources, women will feel valued, included and are less likely to leave the job.
Click to read: Here’s How Women will Change the Workplace in 2020
With the success of the MeToo movement and the Times Up campaign, Selena Rezvani thinks that women’s voices are only going to become louder, angrier and more assertive in the office. Rezvani states that this will finally ignite real discussion and societal change - allowing women’s voices to be heard and understood by their male colleagues. From calling out sexual harassment cases to encouraging transparency in the workplace - women want clarity when it comes to pay rises, career progression and opportunities. A share of power is the key to balancing out the gender disparity. If women think something is hindering their advancement, or if they’re lacking the information they need, Rezvani calls for companies to abolish their outdated policies and reform - they’ll only be called out if not.
Click to read: Communication is Key for Female Career Progression
DiversityQ have analysed the empowering thoughts of award-winning career coach and psychometric trainer, Rita Chowdry, who states that being a good communicator is even more vital for women if they want an ambitious career. She recommends using her DISC communication grid if you’re struggling to communicate with your team. The grid segregates and analyses personality types into D, I, S and C types, allowing an insight into what types of communication work best for different types of people. For example, a CEO will likely be a ‘D’ type, preferring direct engagement which is likely to display results. Chowdry describes a successful case study in which a female senior manager was doing everything a director would but without the title. Her situation coincides with the Wundamail Women at Work Report 2020, showing that women lack negotiation skills due to a fear of confrontation. After her training programme, she adjusted her communication style, became more direct by highlighting her achievements and gained the result she wanted - a true case of demonstrating how training resources can aid in progressing a woman’s career.
Click to read: 5 Ways to Break Down the Barriers for Women to Access Leadership Roles
Betty Frankiewicz raises the problem of the gendered-skills gap by demonstrating how women are under-represented in the roles that are growing the fastest, for example only 18% of women are in computer science roles in the US - an industry which needs to promote opportunity for women to gain interest. Without reskilling employees, they face the risk of their jobs being disrupted by automation. Frankiewicz states how important it is for companies to value the trait of being able to ‘learn and adapt’ instead of prioritising an individual’s past experience - it’s about creating an environment where employees have access to resources to thrive and progress at work. Work and personal lives are becoming intrinsically linked, so companies must reform and showcase benefits, such as remote working or on-site childcare, which will meet the needs of all their employees. With this environment and a ‘conscious inclusion’ culture, women are more likely to succeed in their leadership careers according to Frankiewicz’s 5 steps.