This week while driving from one side of the city to the other, a billboard caught my attention: “Girls should learn history. And make it.” The quote is credited to Malala Yousafzai, who grew up in Pakistan and has become an outstanding activist for female education as well as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. It made me think of just how far women have come in our own country…while also causing me to look to the road we have ahead of us. What trail will the women of 2022 blaze and what will be our legacy in 100 years? I reached out to a few professional friends to see what they thought, too.
What’s NOT Working
Others’ perceptions of women in the workplace seem to be the biggest obstacle today. We’ve made outstanding progress in representation in a wide variety of fields, business types, and organizations, but there are still biases working against us with regard to those who see us as there to “fill a quota.”
Women do make up 51% of the world’s population, so statistically, they should be half the workforce. That’s not all there is to it, though; they should also be hired not because the organization needs to get to 50%, but because they are the best person for the job…because their skills and experience fit the need.
We learned at the Symposium that many organizations automatically attribute authority because of seniority. While this is not strictly a gender issue, it does disproportionately affect women because they have been in their current positions less time.
Where We’re Headed
In the short term, there are some workplace opportunities we would love to see implemented, such as greater transparency in job offerings, hiring practices, and pay scale between men and women, as well as more integrity and fairness in the workplace once people are hired.
While the overall impact of the coronavirus was brutal in many ways, it did force some rapid and much needed change on the issue of workplace flexibility, and that has benefited both men and women. We have seen greater access to remote work environments, as well as flexible schedules allowing for longer work days (four 10-hour days, for example).
We would like to see more company-wide health initiatives, rewarding employees for exercising more and eating healthier. We would love to work across both public and private sectors to collaborate on solutions to resolve the caregiving issues that continue to persist for women.
A Lasting Legacy
We want to demonstrate to the world that women can successfully lead major corporations, helping them grow and thrive in good times and bad. Our goal is to bring new thinking to the table and implement better strategies for organization and growth.
This starts with working our way up through the companies we’ve chosen to work for…or by starting our own companies when other doors are closed to us. It continues by doing fulfilling work that serves the needs of our local communities—hiring other capable women and mentoring them in how to do better than we are today! We want to be seen and remembered as a creative force and asset that pushes forward initiatives and progress, while balancing the tasks of both raising and creating the future. As we build on what we learned from the Symposium, we invite you into these conversations. We want your leadership in spaces where we can’t be, pushing us to become the best place for women to work!
Let’s Move FORward Together,