Brussels, Belgium, 6 March 2023 – This year's International Women's Day will focus on the theme of equity - #EmbraceEquity - addressing the specific needs of women around the world. Indeed, equality is still too often confused with equity. The campaign's presentation reminds us that "while equality aims to give everyone the same resources or opportunities, equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to achieve an equal outcome. By joining the verb 'embrace' to the word equity, the campaign aims to raise awareness of understanding and accepting differences, but above all to welcome and adopt behaviours that take them into account.
3 priorities : Choice and flexibility, equitable wages and more empathetic leaders
The survey 'What Women Want at Work' conducted by ManpowerGroup with 4,000 women in the US and Europe, identified three things women look for:
1) Choice and flexibility: 80% of women want more work life balance – most say being able to choose to do their work at a time that works for them is most important , with greater flexibility.
2) Equitable wages: Women want equal pay for equal work and we cant ignore this issue neither worldwide, nor here in Belgium, where, according to the report by the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men in 2022, the wage gap in terms of hourly pay is 8.5% to the disadvantage of women. This gap rises to 21.6% when annual salaries are taken into account. In the ManpowerGroup survey, almost half (48%) of women believe earning more money would have the greatest positive effect on their mental health and well-being and 50% of women said they would leave their current organization for more pay and benefits, a fact that should encourage employers in the context of the talent shortage that is hitting the job market.
3) More empathetic leadership: The third data point is probably the one that will be the most challenging. 80% of women would like their manager to take time to get to know and understand the challenges they face, both at work and outside of work. More than 40% do not believe their manager recognizes their skills or potential. A majority feel that their managers do not sufficiently appreciate the day-to-day challenges of being a parent while balancing a career and the impact of this challenge on their mental health. Many women feel organizations are not doing enough - they’re feeling burnt out, unappreciated, and, sometimes underestimated.
As it does every year, ManpowerGroup is actively participating in International Women's Day," explains Sébastien Delfosse, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup Belux. "After Covid, women are looking at the world of work differently. They have become more aware of the role they can play and our 'What Women Want at Work' survey highlights their expectations of gender equity in the workplace. Employers need to listen and respond in order to attract and, above all, retain female talent in their organisations. Managing equity, diversity and inclusion are strategic HR priorities for companies today.
4 tips from ManpowerGroup to progress gender equity at work #EmbraceEquity
In light of these findings, ManpowerGroup offers four tips to improve gender equity in the workplace
Gather data and measure your progress. In the age of data, it is more important than ever that HR, like financial or commercial departments, consolidate data in order to gain a clear view of how they manage gender within their organisation and measure progress in a transparent manner. This means looking at the composition of teams, participation in training, salaries, promotions, etc.
Train managers to show empathy. As soft skills become more important in recruitment, companies also need to improve how they train existing management to develop emotional intelligence skills. The aim is to develop a more empathetic leadership based on behaviours that take into account the individual expectations of each member of staff.
Grow and develop your female employees. Strengthen training, coaching, mentoring and development opportunities to enable more women to progress in their careers by setting them up for success and break the glass ceiling.
Provide what women want at work: choice and flexibility. In the post-Covid world, a ‘one-size fits one’ approach is now essential in human resource management in order to meet individual, and therefore also women, expectations. There must be choice and flexibility in terms of working hours, hybrid work, components of salary packages, but also in everyday life at work.