Episode 9

What Are The Barriers to Gender Equality At Work?

Creating a workplace environment that encourages and enables women to take on senior leadership roles continues to be a thorny issue. Only this week it was revealed that the government is expected to launch a campaign that will set targets for every FTSE organisation to have a least 40% of board seats taken by women. The campaign is also likely to encourage organisations to increase the ‘pipeline’ of women candidates to take on senior leadership roles. Setting targets is all well and good but do they address the fundamental issues that women face when climbing the ranks into senior roles?

The 3 Barriers To Gender Equality At Work

You would think with the introduction of The Equality Act (2010) and the gender pay gap report for firms with a headcount of 250 or more, that gender equality should be sorted right? Well no, not really. This week’s Oven-Ready guest believes that there are 3 big barriers to overcome before the gender equality issue can truly solved. The barriers are:

1. The provision of flexible working
2. Adequate child care
3. Re-framing of leadership traits and behaviours

Romanie Thomas is a former senior headhunter who witnessed first-hand just how difficult it is for women to take on senior roles despite being better qualified, better leaders and better suited. Romanie is the CEO and founder of Juggle, a platform and eco-system for senior professionals who work flexibly. She reveals that today, less than 10% of business leaders are women. Her vision is to grow this percentage to 50% by 2027. So what are the fundamental and societal issues in the way?

The provision of Flexible Working

Women need to feel confident that flexible working isn’t going to kill their career. Organisational culture and hiring policies need to change to give women with caring responsibilities the opportunity and confidence to take on senior roles.

Adequate child care

The Tony Blair foundation recommends we treat child care provision as essential economic infrastructure much in the same way as the Biden administration does in the US. Access to affordable child care is as important as building new roads and railways. Without it, women are relying on a network of formal and informal provision that stops them getting on.

Re-framing leadership traits

Too many organisation’s confuse male over-confidence with competence and in fact this misplaced confidence often masks mediocrity and distinctly average performance. Organisations need to revisit their hiring touch points to ensure they embrace a range of leadership styles particularly the more collegiate and collaborative style often displayed by women.

Resources:

https://juggle.jobs/about/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/romaniethomas/?originalSubdomain=uk
https://institute.global/policy/back-future-how-remote-working-can-work-women
https://www.ft.com/content/ad209215-c0cf-4ffd-a9b8-5dbd26bd1280
https://www.ft.com/content/c7f234b8-2c8c-49cf-8ea9-05c223553f3f

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Twitter: @OvenHr

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About my guest

Romanie Thomas is a former senior headhunter who witnessed first-hand just how difficult it is for women to take on senior roles despite being better qualified, better leaders and better suited. Romanie is the CEO and founder of Juggle, a platform and eco-system for senior professionals who work flexibly. She reveals that today, less than 10% of business leaders are women. Her vision is to grow this percentage to 50% by 2027. So what are the fundamental and societal issues in the way?

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