This International Women's Day, we interviewed some of our team asking them to share their thoughts on how we can #ChooseToChallenge.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
Meet Natasha Richards, client relationship manager
1. Which assumptions or preconceptions would you like to challenge about women at work in 2021?
I’d like to change the notion that women are incapable of taking on the ‘hard job’. Whether that means managing a large complex programme, managing difficult stakeholders or roles which require a strong layer of resolve and resilience. We are capable of this and so much more.
2. Within your market / industry sector, what progress have you seen businesses take to progress gender equality?
I’ve seen a number of organisations analyse internal data and have taken the time to understand what they may be lacking in terms of being able to attract women into their organisation. This is a great step in the right direction; however, I feel more needs to be done with regards to having women in senior leadership and technical roles.
3. What is one action companies can take to further balance their talent attraction strategies?
If you are saying you are a company that promotes gender equality, then it will be evident within your organisation. Promote this both internally and externally. Many companies don’t realise the impact of internal branding and focus, only on the external. Always remember, your employees are walking brand ambassadors.
4. What is your top advice for making job descriptions more inclusive?
Whilst I feel more should be done to ensure women are fairly represented across all industries, its important this is done without bias. I think rather than a focus on job descriptions, a move towards anonymous CV’s would mean the right ‘person’ is identified during the recruitment process, based on the merit of their experience.
5. Are there any companies you admire for the ways in which they celebrate women's achievements?
I can’t think of any companies that celebrate women’s achievements specifically, but I do think a number of companies do better at highlighting the achievement of their employees than others. Convex is an organisation that I feel goes above and beyond to highlight their staff and tries to break the mould.
6. What can organisations do to shift pre-conceived conceptions about flexible working?
I believe the current pandemic has done a lot to shift the minds of those that may have had a negative mindset towards this. Many managers that felt working from home was impossible, through no choice of their own, have now been shown otherwise. Thinking forward, candidates now place more emphasis on flexible working, culture and benefits, when selecting an organisation. Companies should bear this in mind if they want to be seen as a preferred organisation.
7. How can organisations support their employees in raising awareness against bias?
Creating processes that support and encourage those who speak up would be the first point of call. I think both anonymous forums, as well as round table talks, will help to raise awareness, but it’s key that organisations follow through with the appropriate actions, or employees will see this as a waste of time.