Equilibre covered the themes of dynamic careers as well as overall diversity as we wanted to address the question: What is needed on an individual, corporate and societal level to further gender integration at work?
Over 30 employees, mainly from the Finance and Insurance sector, took part in the discovery session where they were able to voice their concerns, talk about their convictions and work on possible solutions. Most events on diversity have a broad attendance from women but we managed to assemble 50% men and 50% women.
The assumption that employees are accepting of the changes needed to make the work place more gender inclusive can unfortunately not be sustained by this study.
“Clients don’t want diversity, but they want continuity and stability”
Furthermore, women are still battling with their own stereotypes as well as societal stereotypes.
“Women need to know that their skills are valued and recognized. They need to build confidence.”
Next to confirming that stereotypes are still an integral part of the workplace, the group also came up with suggestions and best practices on how to overcome unconscious bias and how to encourage women to feel empowered.
The group also discussed and proposed best practices for corporates to implement to foster inclusiveness and adapt corporate culture accordingly. The usual examples of flexible working hours were of course mentioned but more innovative ideas such as using the return from maternity or parental leave as an opportunity to potentially promote were showcased as solutions to the inclusion problem.
However, although solutions were prominently discussed as well as the importance of inclusion and diversity programs, it was also mentioned that all implemented solutions should be careful not to causeother discriminations or jealousies, f.ex. only flexible working hours for employees with kids.
“Create safe space for men to ask for flexible working hours. Men are often afraid to ask due to fear of looking weak”
The importance of corporate culture was again emphasised for the acceptance of maternity, paternity and parental in a corporate setting. Many still consider these types of leave with suspicion.
"The manager responded that he only “knew of only one other man who had taken parental leave – the government minister who had been promoting paternity leave and who had written a book aboutit”.
There was strong agreement that a company’s culture is set at the highest levels and the role of senior management in driving cultural change is vital.
“Solution? A mandatory rule for senior employees to take parental leave could provide the necessary role models for middle management and the staff overall”
The report in itself indicates many fantastic examples and best practices for corporates to implement as well as some thought-provoking suggestions for the new government to implement such astargets on their spending which would include quotas for minority- and female-owned companies as suppliers.
In conclusion, even though there are still many fears present and many biases to be battled, there are clear implementable solutions on a Corporate and Societal Level which employees and citizens can advocate for. We now need Senior Management and Middle Management to work together to start making credible efforts within corporations to implement the programs conducive to creating a more inclusive corporate culture.
Equilibre, after having conducted multiple studies and after having reached out to other countries, wishes to help with the process by creating a SUCCESS Academy by the end of the year. The academy addresses the needs of employees and corporations to empower the change-makers within the organisation to implement the necessary changes to become a gender-inclusive workplace.
Read the full report HERE.
Press release by Equilibre
Publié le 09 octobre 2018