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International Women's Day 2021

International Women’s Day 2021

Organizations around the world have shown commitment to change and acceptance of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion dialogue through the years. How it is lived out varies from being top-down where it begins from being incorporated in the company’s mission/ vision statement and sometimes from being bottom-up where it is lived out in daily exchanges between people. Organizations that look at being both customer centric & employee centric are ready to engage in difficult dialogues and raise questions that challenge assumptions about how inclusive they really are. Different commemorative days like the International Women’s Day are opportunities to pause, reflect and redirect one’s efforts both at an organizational level in terms of policies and practices that foster equity & inclusiveness as well as at an individual level in terms of how belonged one feels in their team and at their place of work.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid World’. This theme is extremely pertinent to translate in the organization’s capability development framework and we bring to you three aspects that are worthy of being highlighted.

1. Challenge the culture and drive it to shape a strategy that works in the post Covid world

Culture continues to eat strategy for breakfast! Even more, so post the Covid times when we realized the role of culture – whether that was agile or collaborative – in shaping dynamic workplace strategies. This culture became even more prominent when the organizations went remote and culture was expressed and passed on in one to ones and in true team work. Understanding what our company culture is when it comes to DE & I as well as how it is lived out is essential.

2. Challenge assumptions about ‘What Women Want’

The gender debate seems to never go out of fashion. While we have evolved to times when we recognize many job roles to be gender free, we also find ourselves struggling with creating workplace cultures that are different from societal cultures. And hence, we see some unconscious biases and stereotyping to funnel through into our places of work where often the other gender assumes what is good, needed and valued in the other. Whether it is about looking at leadership styles being masculine or feminine or how maternity/paternity/child care is viewed or where the glass ceiling really is – there are many conversations that need to happen for men, women and the third gender at the workplace. This goes a long way in recalibrating our people management strategy and how successful we are in retaining/honing talent.

3. Recognize the fallacy of the ‘Superwoman’ and protect them from burnout

Covid-19 changed not just the way we worked but also changed the way we worked back home! This had a strong impact on how the genders coped with change, what did we upskill ourselves to and how future ready did we really become. There are multiple researches that have pointed towards a call for a more equitable world after recognizing the invisible load of domestic labor that women had been carrying all along. Continuous dialogues and discussions are needed in terms of what has the impact of valuing the ability to multitask has put on women and open the forum to recognize the weight of unrealistic expectations, silent burnouts and missed fulfilment of career aspirations. Covid-19 has also put women at work in a backward spiral taking away a lot of progress that was done to bring them back in the workforce. Businesses saw attrition of both casual workers as well as senior leaders who had to ‘choose’ home over ‘work’. On the other side, we also saw women from certain sections of the society and business verticals be better integrated in the workplace as they could now handle ‘both’ work and home while being remote, or their skills saw relevance in the changed times. It is important to deliberate on what does it mean for our organization & industry.

Reach us on learning@humandynamic.com or find a local office near you by clicking CONTACT – Human Dynamic to have a confidential consultation on how you can take up the challenge to build an inclusive and safe workplace! We look forward to having a conversation on tailor made solutions for leadership and change for your workplace!