Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful. The IWD 2023 campaign theme seeks to forge worldwide understanding about why equal opportunities aren’t enough, and a focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA.
International Women’s Day belongs to everyone, everywhere. Collectively, we can all help create a diverse, equitable and inclusive world.
1. How can companies strive for more equitable talent attraction?
I think this is a really important point, and I guess the starting point may seem obvious, but employers need to make asking for what you need more accessible, with less stigma attached to the adjustments. Whether that’s a different working pattern to accommodate childcare or support to speak up, there is no 'one size fits all' salve. however, offering “whatever reasonable adjustments are needed” or similar shows that a business treats people as individuals rather than assuming what you may need.
2. Within your market/industry sector, what progress have you seen businesses take to progress gender equity?
So looking at recruitment, covid has made us all embrace flexible and hybrid working, which has enabled many women, including myself, to modify their roles and working patterns so that they can progress. There is a lot more that we can do to understand the varying female experiences. I think that enabling people to bring their whole selves, too, empowers women to share what challenges they may face. As an industry, we do need to look at experienced recruiters and make sure that paths exist for elite billers as well as management careers.
3. What is your top advice for making job descriptions more inclusive?
Language isn’t arbitrary, so keeping pronouns gender-neutral is key. When I take a brief from a client, we go through a process known as “RAGing” the spec (Red – not essential, Amber – nice to have, Green - essential) so that only the green points make it into any adverts or descriptions. This means that the chance of self-rejection reduces as women are more likely to rule themselves out of a role if they don’t meet almost 100% of the criteria. I have had first-hand experience of this, as I didn’t see the spec for the role I do here at Eames now until a few hours before my final interview and was unsure if I should continue!
4. What does being an effective ally for women look like to you?
Look at the spaces in which you hold power. Do women have a voice there? Are those women from diverse backgrounds from both background and thought? If not, look at why and then work out how to give a voice to them. It’s uncomfortable, but sometimes recognising your own privilege can show you what gendered structures could be barriers.
5. What advice would you give women in the industry you work in?
Be you. Don’t feel you have to please anyone around you and don’t make yourself smaller to make space for others. Most of all., find your voice and let people know what you need. You are more than capable of excelling and you deserve to. Be proud of yourself.