International Women’s Day 2020 is this Sunday! With 2020 being the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment AND an election year, this International Women’s Day feels like an even bigger reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.
One area holding opportunity for women’s continued advancement is the workplace. Today, women make up 29 percent of senior management worldwide – up from 20 percent in 2011. (*Grant Thornton) It’s exciting to see this improvement in nine years, but for a group that represents half of the world’s population, we still need to keep pushing. One way we can do this is through conversation.
With that in mind, for International Women’s Day 2020, I reached out to some of my fellow Medix Women in Leadership committee members to provide insight and advice to employers, job seekers and young professionals looking to create and grow more inclusive workplaces.
What Does International Women’s Day Mean to You?
Like every holiday, International Women’s Day impacts each of us a little differently. This acknowledgement is seen as everything from a celebration to a call to action.
“It is a reminder to me to think of all the women who have inspired me both personally and professionally throughout my life and my career,” said Cordelia, Regional Director of Recruiting at Medix.
For Regina, Director of Client Experience at Medix, it’s an “inspiration to play my part in progression for all women’s advancement.”
Whatever International Women’s Day means to you, make sure you express it! Whether it’s a post on social media or a ‘thank you’ note to a woman who has inspired you, this simple expression from you will join the collective conversation and emphasize the importance of this day.
Employers Promoting Inclusion (Literally)
Although the gap continues to shrink, the fact remains that for every 100 men promoted and hired to the role of manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired.* How do we continue to close that gap? By genuinely embracing inclusion.
“Companies need to remember that tolerating differences is not the same as embracing differences,” said Megan, Director of HR at Medix. “Respecting and valuing every person for their various backgrounds and perspectives is such an important part of creating opportunity for every employee (which Medix is so passionate about)!”
According to Ashlei, Director of Business Operations in Medix’s Kansas City office, inclusion is the fuel to a successful team, because it sets each individual up to be supported and empowered. As the old saying goes, a rising tide raises all boats!
How do you know if you need to focus more on inclusion in your organization? Simply put by Cordelia: “If you look around the room and everyone looks like you and thinks like you, it might be time to revisit and welcome diverse perspectives!”
Female Job Seekers: What to Look For in an Employer
When searching for your next opportunity, you may find a lot of companies that say they’re advocates. However, as soon as you scratch the surface, you may find that promise to be a bit empty. There are things you can look for that may indicate a genuine commitment.
“Find a company that has a proven track record in creating opportunities for women at every level,” said Regina. “If the stats show that women can grow successfully, then you’ve found the right fit!”
How do you find this information? Take a deep dive into the organization’s website, as well as their social media pages. Newsrooms and blogs may also hold the information you would want to see.
This research may take a little work up front in the job search process, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
“All job seekers should look for an employer that will allow for them to be themselves and where they will feel empowered to achieve the goals they set out,” said Ashlei.
Then Regina sums it up best: “You are valuable, so make sure your organization values you.”
Parting Advice for Female Young Professionals
If you’re new to the workforce, remember that many lessons will need to be learned the hard way through the experience of missteps, recovery and growth. However, our Women in Leadership Committee members have offered their most valuable insights to give young professionals a head start.
“Be curious, courageous, vulnerable, and never stop asking questions. Get to know the leaders of your company and make the best first impression you can make with everyone you meet, no matter their title. Ask for what you want and need. As you begin your career, be the person who is appreciative and genuine in all that you do. And empower other women around you!”
“Invest in yourself; focus on what you are good at, and be vocal!”
“‘Wisdom is meant to be shared, so let’s start sharing what we’ve learned to make each other better. Let’s start building each other up. Let’s live up to our potential and start ruling the world.’ (Cara Alwill Leyba) For any young professional, I would encourage you to build up a network of strong, powerful and incredible women and let their success build your confidence, not tear you down!”
“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground. Dream big, and chase those dreams, but stay humble amidst all of the successes and failures that you will experience. They will shape you and help you grow.”
As the conversation about women’s advancement grows louder, action has been following, so let’s continue talking and listening to one another and close that gap! Join our conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.
Happy International Women’s Day 2020, everyone!
Grant Thorton, Women in Business 2020, https://www.grantthornton.global/globalassets/1.-member-firms/global/insights/women-in-business/2020/women-in-business-2020_report.pdf