Directing the future for women at work

Today we salute DR. Deonita Damons, Director, PhD graduate, Leader, Team player, Boss, Friend, Colleague, Project Manager, Compliance Director:

“While progress has been made for women in corporates, we would not be winning any Olympic medals. In fact, progress is so slow it’s a little difficult to measure effectively! In school women and girls must be encouraged and SPONSORED to pursue the fields of STEM and innovation. We need to call out conventional beliefs, societal pressures and inequality behaviours and attitudes. 

Companies need to make bold moves. I am proud to be associated with the Boston Education Trust, that sponsors black females in the IT fields.

These are the steps we need to take:

  1. Audit with integrity, and adjust salaries of female employees. 

The gender pay gap is still a topical and trending issue – and it shouldn’t be! On average, women earn round 70 percent for the same work of their male counterparts, with the disparity widening when you consider race as a factor.  A number of large corporations have tackled this challenge head-on. International companies such as  Adobe, along with Twitter, Mattel and other companies, joined the EqualPayCA pledge, with Adobe boasting pay parity since 2018. 

  1. Address gender disparity and role stereotypes

One aspect of the pandemic was work from home revelations. Virtual meetings revealed the stresses, and financial hardships and more that many people experienced away from the workplace. A post Covid19 workplace must embrace the fourth IR skills we request from our employees:  flexibility, emotional intelligence, adaptability and critical thinking and role diversification.  Workplaces do not have to make their employees, especially female employees, deal with the quandary of choosing between managing a household or being a professional: they can help employees succeed in both roles. 

  1. Work with organisations such as Boston when hiring.

Look for institutions and invest in them to help nurture talent. Partner with universities and organisations that provide technical-training programs to diverse communities and open the door for people who have alternate career paths.

  1. Leadership starts at the top

For a workplace to be truly diverse and inclusive, leadership needs to uphold and emulate the values you espouse.  Gender equality tends to be found in entry level positions in a company. Women may be held back from being promoted to managerial positions. I am proud to be associated with Boston, with 50% of our directors being female!

  1. Elevate women employees     

Unfortunately reports show that the majority of women in business feel they have to work harder than their male co-workers to prove their worth, and many also see gender bias as a barrier to promotion in 2021. Close the gender gap by building bridges, and help women get across. Senior leaders need to prioritise retaining and promoting women throughout their careers via strong advancement pathways discussed with mutual agreement in job evaluations, Opportunities for professional development and leadership training must be offered. And yes, go out of the way to fast-track female employees into managerial positions. 

There may be some resistance against targeted programmes that pave the way for progress for women. Therefore leaders in business should demonstrate real effort in understanding the history of exclusion and make a conscientious and aggressive efforts to dismantle identifiable barriers. 

  1. Listen and learn constantly

There is no “once-of-quick-fix here”. The old thinking is ingrained in the psyche of business and employees. Change is a process, and one that must be constantly monitored and evaluated. Reach out to those who feel marginalised, and create policies and change in consultation with them. An inclusive approach is more likely to succeed and get buy-in from all employees. 

The resources are available to make these changes easy to implement. Campuses such as Boston produce work ready graduates. We challenge leaders, executives and hiring departments to make measurable and meaningful moves.