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More Than One Day: Exploring International Women’s Day

Each year, March 8th marks a collective, global celebration of women’s triumphs across social, political, cultural and economic sectors. Officially recognized in 1975 -- yet revered as early as 1911 -- International Women’s Day exists not only in recognition of women’s achievements, but as a call-to-action. Despite immense progress for women worldwide, if we are striving toward genuine equality there is still ample room for improvement.

For 2022, International Women’s Day Reimagines Our Current World

What would it mean to be free from discrimination, stereotypes and inequality? This year’s IWD theme of #BreakTheBias makes awareness, action and commitment integral to women’s empowerment. For a state of parity to exist, we must first inspire each other to #BreakTheBias.

Leaders Speak May Yang
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The State of Equality for Women in the Workplace Today:

IWD the Workplace Today
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#BreakTheBias

Imane Mouaou

Imane Mouaou

France

 
Fadzilah Rahim

Fadzilah Rahim

APAC

 
Pascale Grislin

Pascale Grislin

Luxembourg

 
Hannah McAdam

Hannah McAdam

UK

 
Aga Florek

Aga Florek

UAE

 
Rajashree Thandy

Rajashree Thandy

India

 
Aleksandra Pejic

Aleksandra Pejic

Serbia

 
Anna Osewski

Anna Osewski

USA

 
Jade Labbe

Jade Labbe

France

 
Hema Ramachandra

Hema Ramachandra

APAC

 
Celine Waisvisz

Celine Waisvisz

Netherlands

 
Joanna Sequeira

Joanna Sequeira

UK

 
Khemlata Sahu

Khemlata Sahu

UAE

 
Aleksandra Urban

Aleksandra Urban

Serbia

 
Nidhi Tiwari

Nidhi Tiwari

India

 
Kimberly Halston

Kimberly Halston

USA

 
Khouloud Bouqua

Khouloud Bouqua

France

 
Manasawi Rach

Manasawi Rach

APAC

 
Fleur Bosman

Fleur Bosman

Netherlands

 
Saamia Ibrahim

Saamia Ibrahim

UK

 
Madhumitha Sriramulu

Madhumitha Sriramulu

UAE

 
Dunja Sekulic

Dunja Sekulic

Serbia

 
Poonam Chaudhari

Poonam Chaudhari

India

 
---- ------

Kimberly Espinosa

USA

 
Lea Yammine

Lea Yammine

France

 
Nikko Wong

Nikko Wong

APAC

 
Katarina Gadzuric

Katarina Gadzuric

Serbia

 
Mamata Gujanati

Mamata Gujanati

UAE

 
Shelby Murrell

Shelby Murrell

UK

 
Shobha GS

Shobha GS

India

 
Sonia Barreto

Sonia Barreto

USA

 
Nora Nonne

Nora Nonne

France

 
Pei Xuan

Pei Xuan

APAC

 
Suvarna Lavate

Suvarna Lavate

UAE

 
Marina Sukovic

Marina Sukovic

Serbia

 
Sarah Djorno

Sarah Djorno

France

 
Smita Dattatraya Joshi

Smita Dattatraya Joshi

India

 
Egle Toh

Egle Toh

Netherlands

 
Syahindah Suhaimi

Syahindah Suhaimi

APAC

 
Shagun Virdi

Shagun Virdi

UK

 
Zineb Aboudayme

Zineb Aboudayme

France

 
Varalaxmi Parigi

Varalaxmi Parigi

India

 
Janet Chung

Janet Chung

Netherlands

 
Victoria Peng

Victoria Peng

APAC

 
Milica Rakita

Milica Rakita

Serbia

 
Sophia Falih

Sophia Falih

France

 
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Discovering the Key Challenges

  • Microaggressions -- subtle forms of interpersonal discrimination and expressions of prejudice toward marginalized groups. These are often fueled by unintentional, unconscious biases. Research suggests that microaggressions, are at least as harmful as more overt expression of prejudice. Workplace microaggressions can be verbal, environmental and/or behavioral actions, including:
    • Microinvalidations – discrediting and dismissing the experience of a historically disadvantaged group, through comment or action
    • Microinsults – the ultimate backhanded compliment; insinuates disrespect for a demographic while indicating that the target is an exception to the stereotypes
    • Microassaults – intentionally signaling to a marginalized group/member that they are deserving of poor treatment or bias, through overt discrimination, mocking or bullying
  • The ‘Glass Cliff’ -- a phenomenon where women and those with marginalized identities are overly represented in leadership positions that are, in reality, unstable and unreliable due to a genuine lack of support
    • These positions are often given in crisis situations – in desperate attempts to display commitment to diversity, many women who are appointed to these roles end up as a scapegoat for pre-existing problems
    • The Glass Cliff tends to be smaller – in countries that rank higher in terms of gender equality, such as Switzerland and Germany
  • The male-dominated tech industry -- represents a huge barrier for workplace gender equality, with a workforce that is almost 75% male
    • In the U.S., only 25% of computing jobs are held by women
    • Men earned about 61% more than women, on average, in the tech-saturated Silicon Valley, according to research
    • Just 3% of women say ‘technology’ is their first choice for their career
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Discovering the Reality: Gender Equality Fuels Better Business Practices

  • Outperformance-- Companies that boast more women tend to outperform companies with a higher number of men; with a 66% greater return on invested capital
  • DEI Progress-- When men are engaged in DEI programs 96% of organizations see progress, as opposed to just 30% of organizations without male engagement
  • Support-- Employees with women managers are more likely to say that their manager has supported and helped them over the past year
  • Female Leaders-- 71% of both men and women feel that having a female in an executive position makes them believe that they can also achieve a leadership role
  • Women-led-- One study found that 50% of Americans would prefer to work at a company led by women than a male-led company, believing that the firm would be more likely to be purpose-driven, offer equal pay and childcare access
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Together We Can #BreakTheBias

When it comes to furthering workplace gender equality, accountability for both leaders and employees is necessary.

Steps companies can take:

  • Set a standard for an inclusive culture and communicate its necessity to employees. Senior leaders must support company DEI efforts publicly and wholeheartedly
  • Build an inclusive culture that relies on teaching employees how to recognize and banish biases
  • Generate awareness by providing education and training to eliminate gender bias, including educating employees on barriers women face
  • Challenge and correct gender biases and the ways it plays out in common workplace scenarios:
    • Axe the ‘likeability penalty’ that penalizes successful women but is seen as a positive attribute for men
    • Give women proper credit as women are less likely to attribute success to their own actions as opposed to luck, help from others
    • Allow women ample time to speak and share ideas, especially as men tend to dominate meetings and office spaces like conference rooms
    • Share office ‘housework’ as women tend to get little credit for office housework, while men are praised and often face fewer consequences if they decline a task
  • Analyze the hiring and promotion process from start to finish, tracking representation, then implement practices for equitable promotions
  • Recognize the gender pay gap and take steps to create equitable opportunities
  • Encourage fair performance evaluations, achieved by reviewing everyone in the same manner. Women report receiving personal feedback while men tend to get skills-based feedback
  • Encourage men to understand how they can support and #BreakTheBias as part of achieving gender equality
  • Empower employees to be part of the equity solution. Just 14% of employees received ‘allyship training’ in the past year despite an increase in popularity and accessibility to materials
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THAT’S WHERE WE COME IN!

Our Synechron team is committed to creating a more equitable world. We hope you’ll accompany us on this journey. If you learned something while reading this, we encourage you to share it with colleagues/friends. And, as you reflect on the inspiring women in your life this International Women’s Day, remind them that you see and applaud their hard work.

Instead of cheering from the sidelines, it’s time to join the fight with renewed vigor so we can #BreakTheBias.