International Women’s Day on March 8 is a time to recognise women around the world and why it’s important to stand up against gender inequality.
The theme for this year, #ChooseToChallenge, highlights the choices we make as a society and the need to support gender equality. #ChooseToChallenge is based on the idea that we can all help challenge the status quo and advocate for an inclusive world, but this can only happen if we collectively take responsibility for our thoughts and actions.
By choosing to call out gender bias in the workforce, we can prevent stereotyping and encourage diversity. #ChooseToChallenge is a message that Mainmark is proud to support.
Ekaterina Tabbernal, Head of People and Culture at Mainmark, plays an integral role in fostering inclusivity and diversity across the business. Here she shares her experience working with Mainmark and her thoughts on taking on the challenge for change.
As a HR professional, what types of changes do you think are needed for companies to foster greater workplace gender diversity?
I feel we need a mental shift to action gender inclusive agendas. Taking a closer look at how tangible changes like inclusive recruitment, employment opportunity promotion, and remuneration balance can make a difference. There is also a need to invest in educational programs that promote gender diversity and address stereotypes.
Clear diversity and inclusion policies which result in men and women being hired across all roles and levels will breed higher job satisfaction, which in turn increases employee engagement and performance.
From a practical standpoint, communication is key. We should communicate that we have a desire for gender balance and promote that message on social media, in our recruitment process and job advertising.
What positive changes have you seen in today’s culture regarding gender diversity?
I am fortunate that, at Mainmark, male team members are supportive of hiring more female employees. Even though there is more to do in society in this regard, I believe there is growing support from men to make women feel more comfortable in pursuing careers in industries that may have traditionally been male dominated.
Are there any areas in today’s society where you believe more work is needed?
A lot of companies have a diversity and inclusion program, but specific action is often overlooked. Some companies are satisfied with ‘ticking the box’ of having a diversity policy, but simply having a policy doesn’t necessarily translate into outcomes. There are some companies that do a fantastic job, but overall, I think there is still a lot more work to do to translate policies into action, and action into real outcomes.
What would be your advice for women who are interested in working in the industrial sectors but may feel held back by gender bias?
I would say just be brave, be bold and don’t let anything hold you back. I find that when people are knowledgeable and passionate about their work, companies that support gender diversity are eager to capitalise on that.
It can be a daunting experience if women are looking to enter a specific sector that may be predominantly occupied by men, but I say be bold and let your passion shine through.
To continue the momentum for #ChooseToChallenge, what is important to remember to help foster positive gender diversity in the workplace?
I think we need to continue to encourage social accountability. When we see something is not right, we should engage in a conversation about it, and the more we talk about it the healthier the conversation becomes, and the more we see a willingness to change.
Movements like International Women’s Day shouldn’t just be about a once-a-year event. We should challenge ourselves to continue to grow. We want men to support gender equality, but we also need women to have the courage to stand up for what they want and speak out against gender imbalance.
Head of People and Culture, Ekaterina Tabbernal leads and supports the Human Resources function at Mainmark. During work hours you can find Ekaterina engaging with staff, coaching managers, and creating policies and systems to ensure Mainmark remains HR compliant.