It's Up To Us To Drive Change

McKinsey and Lean In's latest Women In The Workplace report confirms the painful truth - society is still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to promoting women at work. Which is even more reason for all of us to empower ourselves, support each other and drive change at grassroots level.

Lean In and McKinsey have released their 2016 Women In the Workplace study which shows that for every 130 men promoted to manager, only 100 women are given a similar role.  Having lost out early on in their careers, women remain behind when it comes to moving onward to leadership. And it’s not just about promotions. Women – as we say in Step Up – get less access to the people and opportunities that accelerate careers. And if you’re a woman from an ethnic minority, you’ll be hit twice as hard by these barriers.

There’s bias at the heart of our companies and it’s affecting you now. We experience more set backs: we are treated differently to men when it comes to negotiation – we’re more likely to be viewed as a pushy bitch - and feedback – we’re just less likely to get it. Over time these blows to our ambition and confidence demoralise us, they deter us from pursuing our goals and make us believe the fight we’d have on our hands to get to the top just isn’t worth it.

So what can we do?

As we advocate in Step Up, we can make sure we push for the equal access to senior leaders, plum assignments and the honest feedback we deserve. Society as a whole would do well to broaden the definition of leadership, as well as continue the drive to equal parenting and family care. But the real onus is very clearly on companies to change. They need to put a higher value on gender equality, ensuring HR processes are fair, everyone is trained to recognise unconscious bias and unequal treatment and, most importantly, equality becomes a key measure of performance. Oh, and access to flexible working that still leaves space for ambition and career progression would be a pretty good place to start.

Join us on this Saturday, 1st October, to talk all things flexible working and why things need to change alongside Motherland, Mother Pukka and Mentor MatcHer at Second Home, London Fields in aid of Gingerbread.

You can read the full Women in the Workplace Report 2016 here.