“You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul”
I am woman by Helen Ready (click here for the song)
How has covid impacted women?
“We are at 1988 levels of workforce participation”
In countries with long periods of lock down due to Covid that there were major impacts on female workforce participation. A Deloitte study in the US found that nearly 70% of women who said they’ve experienced adverse changes to their daily routines during the pandemic, believe that these shifts have prevented or will prevent them from progressing in their careers.
What are the silent impacts of hybrid working and working from home?
Regular readers would know that with sometimes with flexibility comes the real or imagined pressure to always be available to work (click here for my blog on flexibility and wellbeing). Those who are not practically able to work all the time feel guilty about placing a burden on their peers and fear an adverse impact on their career opportunities.
Being literally out of sight may potentially lead to employees being out of mind. This often manifest in inequities in the: allocation of work; access to interesting projects; and exposure to serendipitous important conversations.
What about the elephants the room?
The pandemic coincided with the onset or escalation of violence and abuse. Many women, particularly those experiencing more serious or complex forms of violence and abuse, reported safety concerns were a barrier to accessing help.
Over 35 years after the introduction of legislation that prohibits sexual harassment at work and established a federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australia still lags behind other countries in preventing and responding to sexual harassment.
"the price of liberty is eternal vigilance"
Sign outside my local RSL
Where can you have influence?
"Standin' on their own two feet And ringin' on their own bells"
Sisters and Doing it for themselves by Eurythmics (click here for the song)
Be a role model and be proud of what you do. Irrespective of how much of a role model you believe you are, remember you are judged by your observable actions. Whilst you may not be one to sing from the rooftops like Arethra Franklin, Annie Lennox, or Helen Reddy be mindful of being honest and up front about what you are doing and why.
“While she's (Susan Sanderberg) been leaving at 5:30 since her children were born, or about seven years, it's only in the last two years, she says, that she's been brave enough to talk about it publicly.”
Consider people's real lives. Regular readers would know that opportunities like networking, mentorship and learning are only impactful if people can actually participate.
To avoid biases and assumptions:
Find out what people need
Offer alternative times that accommodate different schedules
On line isn’t for everyone
Formal courses don’t always cover what a person needs.
Last year a client chose to spend his “learning” budget on coaching rather than training as he wanted a bespoke approach at convenient times that targeted the skills he needed to ‘stand taller’ as a leader.
Focus on output not hours. Be mindful that the research demonstrates that people do what is measured, therefore performance evaluation processes and metrics need to focus on outputs, not tasks and hours.
Speak up about harassment and other inappropriate behaviour.
“The truth is simple but the answers, sadly, are not. If we don’t have an open enough mind to accept there are multiple factors at play, answers will remain elusive and the ineffective cycle of blame will continue.”
Remember that it is the responsibility for all leaders to set the tone for ethical behaviour, kindness and respect. Do not be a bystander and assume someone else will help. (Click here for my blog on the bystander effect).
Learn how to influence others, to behave appropriately. Irrespective of where we work, increasingly there is the expectation to influence those who do not report to us in order to ‘get our work done’. As you finesse your skills in persuasion use them to promote equity and fairness, to bust myths and remove stereotypes and biases.
Know how to appropriately promote your achievements and or help others to do the same. Bragging is not part of the Australian psyche, however often the only way someone will know you are capable or keen to try something is if you actually tell them. Promoting ones achievements in the appropriate manner and context is invaluable in career progression. Learn how to publicise the fabulous work done by others.
Keep inspiring yourself and others. In 1902, Australia became the second country to grant women the vote and the first to permit women to stand for parliament. At the turn of the 20th century, we were considered one of the most progressive democratic nations in the world. In March 2020 the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), classified abortions as urgent non-elective surgery to ensure continued access, despite Covid concerns. Celebrating our achievements can serve to inspire future efforts.
"You don’t see it at the time, but (difficult times) eventually make you stronger, and that gives me enormous hope and optimism for the future... I feel that for the citizens, and I feel it for myself personally as well.”
Gladys Berejiklian. December 2020
It is amazing that these whilst these words from the NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian reflect her tenacity during 2020, in reality they reflect the experience of anyone who wants to make a significant change in the world.
My personal optimism and pride comes from my daughters, both of whom, in their own unique way, embrace the world through a lens of kindness, joy and determination not gender. Their dreams and regular activities bust gender stereotypes on a daily basis, taking advantage of the hard work of previous generations and paving the way for the future.
So email me and tell me what did you do for international women's day?
Finally, thank you to all the readers who took the time to complete my survey last week. Anyone who still wants to tell me their honest anonymous thoughts on my blog, please click here . _________________________
References: Robins, S.P, Waters-Marsh, T Cacioppe, r & Millet,B (1994) Organisational behaviour. Concepts controversies and applications. Topics. (n.d.). Australia In Colour: The fight for women’s suffrage. [online] Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2019/03/04/australia-colour-fight-womens-suffrage. https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/why-the-pandemic-is-forcing-women-out-of-the-workforce https://gcaus.com.au/elective-surgery-covid-and-surgical-abortions-in-nsw/ https://ranzcog.edu.au/news/category-1-gynaecological-conditions
humanrights.gov.au. (n.d.). Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (2020) | Australian Human Rights Commission. [online] Available at: https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/respectwork-sexual-harassment-national-inquiry-report-2020. https://eatsleepworkrepeat.com/amy-gallo-on-resetting-norms-in-2021/ Freeman, L. and Lea, S. (2020). Imposter Syndrome: Feel it, name it, propel forward anyway. [online] Grounded Curiosity. Available at: https://groundedcuriosity.com/imposter-syndrome-feel-it-name-it-propel-forward-anyway/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2021]. Harvard Business Review. (2020). Better Ways to Manage Up and Out. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/podcast/2020/12/better-ways-to-manage-up-and-out#:~:text=A%20conversation%20with%20leadership%20coach [Accessed 1 Mar. 2021]. https://www.fastcompany.com/90600113/how-reframing-your-anxiety-this-way-can-help-conquer-impostor-syndrome Kelso, K. (2021). How reframing your anxiety this way can help conquer impostor syndrome. [online] Fast Company. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/90600113/how-reframing-your-anxiety-this-way-can-help-conquer-impostor-syndrome [Accessed 8 Mar. 2021]. Ibarra, H., Gillard, J. and Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2020). Why WFH Isn’t Necessarily Good for Women. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2020/07/why-wfh-isnt-necessarily-good-for-women. https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/sb/sb28 Boxall, H., Morgan, A. and Brown, R. (2020). The prevalence of domestic violence among women during the COVID-19 pandemic | Australian Institute of Criminology. [online] www.aic.gov.au. Available at: https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/sb/sb28.