if you ask a woman outright if she has any issues to deal with that are exclusive to being a woman, almost 99% of them would (initially) say noRead Now
Statistics, research and measures all show that having women on the board or in leadership teams improve the profits of a company by up to 80%. Quite frankly, hire a woman and your ROI is a given.
In addition to the numbers that count, legislation to create gender parity supports the reduction of the gender pay gap, the right to request flexible working and anti-discrimination on the grounds of gender. This is all great and necessary as we are a long way from creating an equal society and work place, and I have a whole other blog primed for why and how we better achieve that through company values and culture, but, right now, I want to address what women can do directly to influence this shift.
I deal with lots of people and many of them women, and if you ask a woman outright if she has any issues to deal with that are exclusive to being a woman, almost 99% of them would (initially) say no. But once I start to explore their story, their obstacles and their desires, it becomes apparent that being a woman makes for a very different workplace and life experience. The language and infrastructure of business, the social norms in the boardroom, the out of office culture is starting to shift a bit, but is still an exclusively male domain. Young women can adapt and fit into this world, there is a sense of dynamism attached to it, a competitive nature that Gen X/Z can exploit and explore but, as our life outside of work starts to influence our priorities, it becomes a situation of ‘if you’re not in, then you’re out’. This change can come as quite a shock to the twenty-something females as they progress in their career, I’ve seen it a lot.
Much of the latent discrimination faced by woman is their capacity or potential to have children, this is irrelevant as to whether they actually want children, or have a partner who choses to be the lead parent – the point is, if you are a biological oven, then your promotion and recruitment is considered differently. Fact. I have spoken to leaders in small and large organisations, mainly men, sometimes women, and in all countries, and they have the view that somehow a woman is going to be less committed to work because they are (or might become) a mum. Which of course, is bollocks.
A person’s desire to work hard and contribute to an organisation, is in the hands of that organisation – the values and the culture it breeds – and that’s not just about making sure they follow the line of the law, but about making every employee understand their contribution and support them to deliver it. This is not influenced by whether they have a terrible illness, dependent parents, children or an alcoholic partner because we all have our fair share of personal responsibilities, but how the organisation works for its people.
Women, on the other hand, you could acknowledge that it IS different being a woman, and sometimes it’s harder, BUT those challenges can only be overcome if you identify them first. Having the ability to say this stuff out load and talking it through in a safe place is one of the most rewarding experiences my female clients enjoy. Together we wade through the emotional and angry verbal vomit, have a bit of a laugh (and maybe a cry), consider what is from within and what is from without and then start to align some strategies and practical plans that we can implement to start making some change. This could be dealing with our own areas for development, and/or developing techniques to influence change in others. We track the progress and flex the style and techniques according to the situation. Sometimes these things are major and sometimes they are minor, but Women Coaching is about identifying and acknowledging the differences and making them work, because being different to a man is not about being less than a man.
Thanks to resident Guerrilla Barry for kicking us off with our first blog. Amongst all the Coaching and People Development we do, we're taking on Identity Coaching as our personal crusade. It'll all make sense when you've read the blog but in a nutshell ... why not live the life you deserve to live? Be the person you are? Everybody else is taken.