So I woke up this morning to a lovely, sunny International Women’s Day and felt full of optimism. It feels like over the past 12 months things have moved to another level: more diverse voices are speaking out and to a greater extent they are being heard. We all know this doesn’t mean the job is done but, as I always tell clients, its important to celebrate the successes however small along the way. There’s been a lot of that all today, so with that in mind, I will be brief.
Lifting our heads up from the day-to-day work we do with women (and men) from a range of organisations we can see progress. As a company that exists to actually activate real change for women and their employers, we still face huge challenges.
We assess clients in terms of their ‘readiness’ by which we mean are they actually willing to allocate budget and other resources to change the status quo? The answer? Several more large and influential businesses are now starting to do this. Many however are still happy to hold conferences, employ consultants and discuss WHAT is wrong. This is normal, it’s all part of the education piece – and there are many brilliant people out there doing that. We, of course, do a lot of this too.
The biggest progress for us at Birdsoup is that the issues being discussed are now starting to coalesce (as far as women and work are concerned at least):
- We have been talking about women’s career management and support across the career span for years and this seems to finally be resonating. The idea that there is one single career transition point i.e. from mid to senior leadership where women can be fixed and move into senior leadership roles is batshit crazy!! We believe (as do a growing number of our colleagues) that women should be supported throughout their careers from start to finish as the ‘holding back’ starts early.
- The maternity transition is the biggest threat to women’s careers. Having coached mothers for a decade, we are seeing changes here too. Women are focused and ambitious, organisations who help them through this transition well stand to make huge gains (see our blog here)
- Leadership is a huge issue for companies full stop (see Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s article here – he rocks by the way!). The archetypes of traditional leadership need to be challenged, biases addressed and new ways of leading explored. Women need a different kind of leadership development that focuses on their own authentic self. As champions of authentic leadership, we see how powerful this can be and have a growing cohort of brilliant women who are following their own paths successfully.
So – a good year by anyone’s standards. We will continue to push for progress and better balance within the workplace. Happy International Women’s Day!
#IWD2019 #balanceforbetter #womensupportingwomen #bemorebird