There are many things that companies of all sizes can do to help promote greater gender equality in the workplace. In conjunction with the recently concluded International Women’s Day early this month, The Association (AICPA & CIMA) had shared tips for businesses to better support and empower their female colleagues.
“The global pandemic has highlighted the balancing act that women have performed for years managing their work and family lives. It’s incumbent that organisations recognise the challenges women face in their career progression and put practices into place to support their success,” Crystal Cooke, the association’s director of diversity and inclusion said in a statement.
Here are five things that businesses can do to provide greater gender equality in the workplace:
Be flexible: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to change the way we work and manage our lives. Employers should understand the added stress that comes from managing responsibilities with the demands of work. This will likely require thinking outside the box for equitable and realistic solutions, such as flexible work hours or split days.
Make it OK to say “no”: Create an environment where those who are overwhelmed feel safe, and will not feel penalised or judged, for saying “no” to additional projects or responsibilities. Encourage women to ask for help when they need it and the option of taking wellness breaks to move, meditate, practice gratitude, and embrace this time with their families.
Offer support: Show concern for your employees and offer them the support they need. Ask the important questions and really listen to responses: How are you doing? What can we do to assist you? Then find a way to provide the support needed, which again could be unconventional.
Be more inclusive: Look around you in important leadership meetings – online or in person. Are women and people of colour (POC) well represented? If not, reshape your invitation lists and include women and POC in meetings where strategy, vision, and business-critical decisions are being made.
Emphasise well-being and self-care: For nearly a year, your employees have largely lived the same day over and over. Many are juggling all their responsibilities, which have now seeped into their workday and therefore resulted in no boundaries. You must help the women in your organisation find ways to successfully manage their mental health, stress and energy levels and to take some joy out of each day.
The association has also other initiatives in place to help women in the accounting and finance sphere which includes the AICPA & CIMA Women’s Global Leadership Summit, an annual conference that gives women in the profession the opportunity to develop their skills and connect with like-minded professionals.
This year, the summits will be held in Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific.