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Why Celebrating Women is Good for Business

Employee Retention
Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019
Why Celebrating Women is Good for Business

"Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world," - Hillary Rodham Clinton

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, it’s important that HR professionals reflect on the opportunities they took to advance gender equality and highlight the contributions of women within their organizations – particularly in celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th.

Younger Employees Want Businesses to Prioritize Corporate Social Responsibility

For businesses to experience long-term success, they need to consider stakeholders’ interests as well as profits. Deloitte’s annual millennial survey found that “young workers are eager for business leaders to be proactive about making a positive impact in society”. Millennial and Gen Z employees have little loyalty to businesses that prioritize the bottom line over society. Efforts around diversity, especially within gender equality are key to keeping this employee segment happy and reducing their turnover.  

This year, businesses across all industries celebrated International Women’s Day. The most impactful campaigns and events from companies like Brawny and Mattel integrated the companies’ brands with the mission of the holiday to celebrate the achievements of women in a unique way.

Be creative in your own celebration. Whether it’s donating to a global humanitarian organization, hosting a panel discussion or partnering with a local nonprofit, be true to your brand. Whatever you do, celebrating women in the workplace is not a one-off event and has a lasting business impact.  

The Business Value of Gender Diversity

Research from EY found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians”. It pays to invest in women and events that celebrate them. Plus, it makes your company more attractive to job seekers while helping you retain your current workforce.

Keep in mind that according to Deloitte’s survey, “millennials and Gen Z correlate diversity with a forward-thinking mindset rather than the mechanical filling of quotas — viewing diversity as a tool for boosting both business and professional performance, especially when diversity is embedded in the senior management teams”. Investing in gender equality and diversity will help attract millennial and Gen Z talent to your organization.

A commitment to gender diversity needs to be part of your company culture and evident in the makeup of your organization. Unfortunately, representation of women within senior management teams is lacking. According to iCIMS data, on average only 32 percent of high-level or C-level leaders are women.

International Women’s Day events can be a great opportunity to help women overcome the barriers that keep them from leadership roles. Consider how hosting a networking event could connect women with executive mentors or how employee development trainings can help grow women’s leadership capabilities. These initiatives are also great for your employment brand and when promoted to job seekers, demonstrate that you are an employer of choice.

Progress for Women in the Workplace

Fortunately, women are on the rise in an area they were typically absent from – software development. According to iCIMS data, there was a 26 percent increase in women hired into system software developer roles in 2018 as compared to 2017. Better yet, we’re seeing this upward trend in the percentage of female hires across a variety of IT positions, such as computer and information systems managers and web developers.

Highlighting these types of wins within your own organization is a great starting point for your International Women’s Day celebration, bringing awareness to your company’s focus on diversity and the accomplishments of these pioneering employees.

Don’t get left behind! Valuing diversity – gender, race, religion and beyond – in the workplace is the new normal. While International Women’s Day 2019 has come and gone, it’s never too late to commit to investing in recruitment efforts and internal programs that position your organization to be a leader in this space.