This International Women's Day, we interviewed some of our team asking them to share their thoughts on how we can #EmbraceEquity.
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.
#EmbraceEquity with Sarah Niazi, project manager at ECMS in the UK.
1. What is your top advice for making job descriptions more inclusive?
My best advice would be to ensure your company comes across as diverse as possible. Seeing photos of people from various ethnic backgrounds and age groups is so helpful in “selling” a company on its own. If all I see on a company’s website are pictures of men, then I would question if there is any room for me to fit in. Additionally, it might be worth looking into what get’s advertised as part of the “benefits”. Pool tables and beer taps might entice some, but it could turn off others.
2. What does being an effective ally for women look like to you?
Women are often given less credit for successful outcomes and blamed more for failures, so, to me, an effective ally would be someone who not only celebrates women’s achievements but also someone who champions women’s voices and ensures they’re consistently heard throughout their organisations. Additionally, an ally would be someone who is direct with providing feedback. Nothing useful comes from hearing the words “ good job”; however, hearing constructive feedback and criticisms provides women with a way of building/enhancing their hard skills.
3. What advice would you give women in the industry you work in?
Firstly, never stop learning. It is a forever-evolving industry, so it’s crucial to be constantly upskilling in one way or another. The best way to start is by thinking of what your weaknesses are and go from there.
Secondly, always show off your accomplishments where you can. You’re entering an industry where not all you’re colleagues will have the time to scroll through your LinkedIn, so don’t let them go unnoticed.
4. International Women’s Day is also about celebrating women and their achievements. What woman/women inspire you?
One woman that inspires me is Serena Williams. Having come from a working-class background and working her way up to being one of the most accomplished athletes ever just shows her dedication and passion for what she does. While some may see it as her having an attitude, I can see that all she's choosing to do is go against society's opinion that women should always be happy, calm and accommodating to others' needs.
5. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I would say it would be the subtle gender bias that tends to go under the radar in most organisations. Due to this, the learning cycle for most women then gets disrupted. It is not enough for organisations to pinpoint what “could be done”, it’s about instilling this culture into the entire organisation and maintaining support for women’s want to lead and ensuring that others are recognising and encouraging her efforts. This is especially useful when she doesn’t look or behave like the current group of senior executives and leadership team.