International Women’s Day: Breaking the Bias
The first International Women’s day was in 1909 to commemorate a workers strike that happened the previous year in New York, where women protested their working conditions. It was the Socialist Women’s Conference of Copenhagen that officially established the day to honor women’s rights and to support the movement for universal suffrage. On March 8th every year we now celebrate the social, political, cultural, and economic achievements of women everywhere.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is break the bias, focusing on how to build an unbiased society when it comes to views on gender. Coinciding with this theme, what are some steps you can take to ensure your company is building a gender-balanced workplace? Here are a few helpful ideas to consider for impactful results, supporting equality in your workplace and women’s rights to an equal experience:
Commitment to Equal Pay
The closure of the wage-gap has been an ongoing issue for women, to date women still make 82 cents to every dollar men do. While this gap has been gradually closing over the years, there are steps to be taken to ensure your company is doing all that they can for pay equity. Pay-gap analysis’ are a great place to start, performing one of these can highlight any discrepancies for next steps. Other options include opening conversations during performance reviews to hear employee’s first hand discuss any inequalities they see, or introducing a transparent salary initiative. Any start to addressing equal pay in the workplace is a good one, and actions taken after will only benefit the culture and performance of your company.
Review DEI Strategy
Evaluating your company’s current diversity, inclusion, and equity policies is another long-term strategy to support equality of women within your office. HR has the opportunity to instill new DEI policies that address a number of things such as women in leadership rolls and giving a voice to every employee to for equal influence across the company.
Invest in Making an Inclusive & Learning Driven Culture
In order to hire, train, and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce, providing the right tools to learn about the importance of inclusion and equality is a primary step. These can come in any form that best fits your workforce such as mentors, learning development courses/ training sessions, or guest speakers. Allowing employees to grow from these will bring stronger and more aware female leaders forward.
Celebrating International Women’s Day
Acknowledging and celebrating International Women’s Day in your workplace is a great way to show the women in your organization that you’re invested in their past, present, and future achievements! There are a number of fun and interactive ways to spread awareness and honor the day in your office:
- Discuss the meaning of this years theme. What does “breaking the bias” mean and how can in be reflected in company policies?
- Donate to a women’s charity of choice. There are many charities dedicated to helping women in a number of ways, whether it be professional development, personal assistance, or specific causes you’d like to support.
- Educate about women’s rights history. Many people don’t understand the journey that women have taken to achieve the same rights as men. Educating employees on the importance of the holiday and how far it has brought equality among gender is a powerful way to start important conversations about equality.
- Host/attend online panel events. Listening to other women discuss their struggles in the professional world can be an eye-opening experience for employees. Allowing them to hear about different perspectives and challenges experienced by others can shift focus to making real change.