Inspiring inclusion: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

Work culture is changing and the Great Resignation in 2021 has highlighted the challenges faced by women in the workforce. As we approach International Women’s Day on March 8th, businesses have an opportunity to re-evaluate their practices and foster a more inclusive environment.

How to understand gender disparity

Recent statistics reveal that 29% of women have considered leaving their jobs, reducing hours, or exiting the workforce entirely. Lean In and McKinsey data highlight the exacerbated gender disparity. To address this, it’s crucial to understand these contributing factors:

Pay inequity
Research from PwC indicates an average pay gap of 14% between men and women based on median hourly earnings. Closing this gap, which could take over 50 years at the historical rate of progress, is a pressing concern.

The ‘motherhood penalty’
Women often experience a loss of earnings and career progression when raising children, a phenomenon known as the ‘motherhood penalty.’ This is further exacerbated by the unequal distribution of childcare responsibilities, which disproportionately fall on women in most countries.

Unfair work distribution, limited career advancement opportunities, and inadequate work-life balance
These factors contribute to the unique challenges faced by female employees and may influence their decision to leave the workforce.

How can you retain female talent? Here are some actionable steps for businesses

To foster inclusivity and support female employees, businesses can implement the following strategies:

Equal pay and benefits
Conduct regular pay audits to identify and rectify any pay disparities, and ensure transparent communication about pay structures. Additionally, offer equal benefits, including parental leave, childcare assistance, and female wellness programs.

Build an inclusive company culture
Proactively eliminate gender biases and create an environment where women feel heard, valued, and respected. Leverage recruitment software, such as applicant tracking systems, to mitigate unconscious biases during the hiring process and promote a more diverse workforce.

Mentorship and career development
Establish mentorship initiatives that connect female employees with experienced leaders who can provide valuable guidance and support. Prioritise career development programs to enhance skills and nurture the female workforce, ensuring equal access to promotions and leadership roles

Flexible working arrangements
Recognise the disproportionate share of domestic responsibilities often shouldered by women. Offer flexible working hours, remote working options, and compressed workweeks to empower female employees to achieve a better work-life balance.

Final thoughts...

As businesses navigate the post-great resignation landscape, prioritising the retention of female talent is paramount. International Women’s Day serves as a powerful reminder to embrace inclusivity and create a more representative and equitable workforce. By addressing the unique challenges faced by women and implementing proactive measures, companies can foster an environment where female employees feel supported, valued, and empowered to thrive. 

Check out another one of our blogs: The Importance of Diversity in the Accounting and Finance Industry: A Focus on Women

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