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The McKensy & Company sixth annual Women in the Workplace 2020 report makes a very loud point of how the Covid-19 crisis affected strides made in the inclusivity of women in the workplace.
Industries had a lot of work to do in terms of carving out a safe and sustainable space for women at work prior to the pandemic, the pandemic has only served to amplify the inequalities that existed and in certain instances worsened them. The study notes that women are still struggling to make it into the entry-level management positions and Covid and the new work normal brought on by social distancing has only served to worsen this.
It is now more clear than ever that the time for lip-service has come to an end. Organisations and industries who are determined to make diversity and inclusion attainable and sustainable need to be intentional in mapping out a way forward as a matter of urgency. Whatever plans we put into place now must take into account any further injustices that have come as a result of the crisis and how to grow past these, in addition these plans must factor in the time lost on our gains.
"If companies recognize the scale of these problems and do all they can to address them, they can help their employees get through this difficult time and even reinvent the way they work so it’s more flexible and sustainable for everyone. If not, the consequences could badly hurt women, business, and the economy as a whole. This moment requires long-term thinking, creativity, strong leadership, and a laser focus on the value of women to their organizations."
The industry is up for the task. We have made headway into diversifying the industry in all its sectors and the most powerful tool to sustain this has been education. It is true that creativity and innovation are now part and parcel of our 'new normal' and all our solutions need to account for this. There is no longer any room for the exclusion of women.
The report further notes that: "Research shows that company profits and share performance can be close to 50 percent higher when women are well represented at the top.”
Diversity is to all our benefit.
We need to do more to alert women to the opportunities available to them in the spaces they already occupy, as an industry, this will work to the favour of our clientele and our sector. Our differences, when brought together, can only create something wonderful.
Let's continue creating the workspaces where women can bring all of themselves to the table, where their contribution is equally valued and opportunities are granted to them in equal measure to their male counterparts. Let's be intentional about retaining the best of our industry, regardless of their gender.