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Inspiring Inclusion | International Women's Day 2024

Leadership & Culture

Celebrating International Women's Day and the Power of Inclusion

International Women's Day (IWD) is more than just a day; it constitutes a global movement commemorating the accomplishments of women, acknowledging strides towards gender equality, and highlighting the ongoing efforts needed. This year's theme, "Inspire Inclusion," emphasises the significance of cultivating workplaces that embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion for everyone. 

The Significance of Inclusion in the Workplace

Before delving into recruitment strategies, it is essential to grasp that creating inclusive workplaces transcends gender boundaries. It encompasses all facets of diversity, including ethnicity, age, abilities, and more. Inclusive workplaces not only attract diverse talent but also enhance creativity, innovation, and overall organisational success. As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us pledge to construct workplaces that empower and uplift women, fostering an environment where everyone can thrive.

Recruitment Strategies for Inclusive Leadership: 
  1. Unbiased Job Descriptions and Job Requirements: 
    Develop job descriptions that emphasise skills and qualifications, avoiding gender-specific language. 
    Ensure job requirements are genuinely necessary for the role, eliminating inadvertent exclusion of potential candidates. We know that Women usually believe that they must meet 100% of the job requirements before applying, while men will apply if they meet 60% of those requirements. 
    Tip: You can use free tools such as Gender Decoder to check for subtle bias within any job advert. 

  2. Establish Diverse Hiring Panels: 
    Research suggests that 70% of job seekers prefer companies with diverse leadership teams, and companies with diverse leadership teams can experience up to 68% improvement in staff retention. 
    Not only does a diverse interview panel introduce candidates to team members with different backgrounds and experiences, it also helps to reduce unconscious biases, with a more comprehensive evaluation of the candidates. 

  3. Promote Inclusive Networking and Mentorship Opportunities:
    According to a recent study on Women in Tech, 59% of Women in C-Suite roles had a female mentor in their career.
    Organising networking events and supporting connections between female professionals and leaders within the business, along with opportunities to up skills, can help enhance the confidence and leadership skills of female workers. 
    Anne-Marie Walsh, who works in Executive Search and primarily with C-Suite candidates, has found that imposter syndrome features more with women than men in the workplace, and through the recruitment process. "A mentor can help challenge you, encourage you to take risks, and help push you out of your comfort zone, this is when we grow". 

  4. Flexible Work Policies and Parental Leave: 
    A 2023 study by Employflex found that 4 out of 5 people agreed there is a 'Motherhood Penalty' in the workforce in Ireland, which penalises working mothers when it comes to promotions, career progression and even general treatment in the workplace.
    Lauren Kelly, who specialises in Accounting & Finance recruitment, recognises the growing importance of flexible working policies, especially for women managing caregiving responsibilities. "A lack of flexibility not only hinders work-life balance but also correlates with the underrepresentation of women in C-suite positions."

  5. Meet Women where they are: 
    Dani McPadden, who recruits within Engineering, knows there is still a major gender gap within the Engineering and Construction spaces. Engineering firms have realised it can be too late to start in college and want to intervene at earlier stages by sending female engineering role models to secondary schools to ensure young females engage with STEM subjects. "Our clients are always excited to meet with qualified female candidates as they are often looking to bridge the gender gap that is happening throughout the industry."

Diverse leadership teams bring varied perspectives, fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability. On International Women's Day, let's not only celebrate the achievements of women but also recognise the transformative influence they exert on workplaces worldwide. Empowering women in leadership isn't just a step towards equality; it's a leap towards constructing stronger, more successful organisations for everyone.

A final thought, according to research conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics is that companies with more women in leadership roles are 21% more likely to outperform in profitability and 27% more likely to create long-term value. So the question becomes, if you are not investing in women in your business, is your business reaching its potential? 





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