Can we achieve a more equal future for women in a post Covid 19 world?
The UN has chosen to mark this year’s International women’s day with the theme: Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” It is a subject that reflects the positive influence some women in leadership roles have had during the pandemic. An aspiration for a future with more diversity in leadership and a different style of narrative.
Women in leadership have proven this year that their approach can make a real difference, research has shown that countries led by women have done “systematically and significantly better” in their Covid-19 outcomes. They have locked down earlier, have been more open about the challenges, and have successfully engaged their public. As a consequence, the countries under their leadership have, on average have suffered half as many deaths during the pandemic.
Changing the language of leadership from quick-fix competitive and combative bravado to a more substantive authentic style, takes a lot longer than a few months during a pandemic. Now we have examples of different and successful stories brought about by women. Jacinda Arden, the New Zealand prime minister used this to great effect when she announced, very early in the pandemic, an uncompromising lockdown. More than this, she gave, schools and other organisations, “time to plan”. Her Easter announcement, specifically addressed to children, mentioned that “essential workers“ including the Tooth Fairy and Easter bunny, may unfortunately be busy and unable to get around to all the children this year.
These successes will should ensure women are promoted to more leadership positions in future. Their ability to engage in detail and substance will prove beneficial in an ever more complex world.
Sadly, the pandemic has not moved women’s agenda forward. Research indicates that four times as many women than men have left workforce during the pandemic. Working from home has meant that many women have struggled to keep up with both home schooling and a full-time job.
Whilst many fathers have benefited from spending more time engaging with their children in the past year, this has shone a light on the difficult balancing many women normally deal with as an everyday issue. This awareness should build a better understanding of the need to introduce more flexible work practices for all employees. Both family life and company productivity will benefit! Twenty years ago, Dolly Parton first sang 9 to 5. The last year has shown us that it is not the “only way to make a living”. Working practices will change, whether working from home or working with more flexibility, will become the norm.
I set up Fashionizer 27 years ago, so that I would be able to combine work and with raising my children (didn’t always work though). I have always believed in the benefit of allowing my staff to have the flexibility to combine care, personal and work commitments. Some staff members have worked remotely for many years, as a consequence the transition to remote working during the pandemic caused us very little disruption. We have even added two new babies to the “Fashionizer family”. Both mums will be welcomed back from their maternity leave in the next few months.
I believe that many more women will be starting their own businesses in the near future, so that they can have more control over their time and work-life balance.
I have a friend and colleague, who happens to be a man, who is focused on redressing the imbalance that women find when they apply for funding for their businesses. David Horne, an award-winning author, and TEDx speaker is on a mission to achieve fairer funding for women-led businesses.
On the 17th of March at 16.00 GMT, David will be hosting a 90-minute online event that aims to raise awareness of the uneven playing field that female and diverse entrepreneurs face. This quarterly event aims to inspire and aid women with building the skills and knowledge to help overcome this discrimination.
To find out more please click here to register
Happy International Women’s Day from all the team at Fashionizer!