International Women’s Day, marked annually on March 8th, celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also raises a global call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The campaign theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead – in work, sport, health, and life.
Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough though. Action, by all of us, is needed to level the playing field.
One of the missions associated with International Women’s Day is:
“To forge inclusive work cultures where women’s careers thrive, and their achievements are celebrated.”International Women’s Day: Women & Work (internationalwomensday.com)
Since 2021, Get The Gen have been working in partnership with the Challenges Group, Volunteering Matters and the Chartered Management Institute on the Making Work Work – for women returners (MWW) programme.
The programme acknowledges the key role that women returners play in building the sustainable and diverse workforce that Scotland needs post-pandemic. Key to the programme is supporting participants to build their confidence, skills, and networks, as well as heighten their awareness of current available opportunities and job trends. The ultimate goal is to help women find meaningful and fulfilling work that fits around other commitments in their life.
The MWW programme is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Skills Development Scotland. It is aligned to the national agenda of building back a stronger workforce and part of the Gender Pay Gap action plan.
Get The Gen are contributing to the project by engaging with employers across Scotland to understand their current practices which affect the attraction, recruitment, and retention of women returners, such as the gender pay gap, flexible working and equality and diversity practices. In understanding current practices, it’s then the ambition to bring participating employers together to share best practice and upskill those organisations who have taken part.
“We’re delighted to be able to fold in employers from all over Scotland around the objectives of the Making Work Work programme. As well as supporting women returners themselves to take the first steps back into the world of work, it’s vital that Scotland’s businesses are aware of the value this group can bring and that we shape our workplaces so that everyone can find a way to contribute meaningfully.
Women Returners, by nature of their individual journeys, have a huge amount of transferable skills and experiences which would benefit employers, and our organisations need to be switched on to this fact and harness this in the workplace.”Sara Cook, Head of Operations for Get The Gen
Get The Gen would like to thank the following organisations for participating so far in the employer research and making the programme stronger and more informed: Abrdn, BBC Scotland, Burness Paull, Glenmorangie, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Morton Fraser, NHS Education for Scotland, Purpose HR, Scotch Whisky Association, Scottish Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise.
“It has been great to see such positive engagement from businesses on the topic of women returners. It is clear that many organisations are switched on to the fact that we must create informed and inclusive work spaces for all employees, and that a diverse workforce is a strong workforce. In current times when the competition for high-quality staff is so fought, those switched on to target groups, like women returners, will be the ones who thrive and grow into the future.
Thank you to everyone involved for giving your time during this process”Andy Whittet, Associate with Get The Gen and Project Lead for Make Work Work
Alumni of the MWW programme have gone on to a variety of employment, self-employment and volunteering opportunities, including;
Susan, a former corporate lawyer, who has set up as a self-employed consultant to small businesses;
Karen, who has returned to a career in engineering;
and Amy, who is now working with Social Enterprise Academy International, using her experience of the third sector.
“We have now supported around 100 women with the Making Work Work programme. Each of them is curating their own (work)life blend in a new context where our economy has undergone a transformation in terms of when and where we work.
I am delighted that Get the Gen is supporting us to better understand how employers have learned and developed their practices over the past years and to help employers understand all that women returners have to offer.
Research by PWC shows that addressing the career break penalty could deliver gains of £1.7 billion to the UK economy, and McKinsey’s regular research demonstrates that a more diverse workforce with women in senior roles is a more profitable and impactful one. Women returners are an untapped talent pool that employers ignore to their detriment.”Lynn Houmdi, Making Work Work co-creator and Programme Manager at the Challenges Group
For more information about the programme, please contact Lynn Houmdi at email@example.com.
Together, we can all break the bias – on International Women’s Day, in our workplaces and beyond.