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Empowering Women Through Innovation and Technology: A Call to Action

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on the 8th of March, as a day to honor women’s achievements and contributions to society. It is a day to celebrate the progress made towards gender equality and to raise awareness about the work that still needs to be done. The theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is ‘Innovation and technology for gender equality.’ This year’s theme highlights the importance of promoting women’s access to technology and innovation, as it can be a powerful tool for achieving gender equality in all areas of life, especially in business.

Most companies we surveyed in our latest DEI report, A Fairer Future: Equity and Inclusion in Professional Services, seem to understand that DEI is a must in today’s workplace, but are good intentions enough?

Women have come a long way in the world of business, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that they have equal opportunities for success. Despite the fact that women make up roughly half of the world’s population, they are still underrepresented in leadership positions in many industries. Globally, gender parity in the workplace is expected to be achieved in 132 years, assuming the current speed of change persists. This lack of representation has a significant impact on women’s ability to advance in their careers and to achieve their full potential.

Championing women in business all year round is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it is the right thing to do. Women are just as capable as men of succeeding in business, and they should be given the same opportunities to do so. Secondly, it is good for the economy. Research has shown that companies with a more diverse workforce perform better financially than those with a less diverse workforce. This is because diversity brings different perspectives and experiences to the table, which can lead to better decision-making and innovation.

(Source, A Fairer Future: Equity and Inclusion in Professional Service, iResearch Services, 2022)

However, championing women in business is not just about hiring more women. It is about creating a culture of inclusivity and equality, where women are valued and their contributions are recognized. This can be achieved through initiatives such as mentoring and sponsorship programs, flexible work arrangements, and equal pay policies. It is also about challenging unconscious biases and stereotypes that can hold women back, and promoting a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

Founding Steering Committee member Gay Collins, speaking to iResearch Services for International Women’s Day 2022, explained how mentoring is an important tool for building allyship.

She said: “Men who get it have become our biggest allies and supporters and have become really influential. They are learning so much from their mentees and are coming back saying that they have realised so much that they never had to think about before.”

(Source, A Fairer Future: Equity and Inclusion in Professional Service, iResearch Services, 2022)

Innovation and technology have the potential to be powerful tools for promoting gender equality in business. For example, technology can enable flexible work arrangements that allow women to balance their work and family responsibilities more easily. It can also provide women with access to training and networking opportunities, regardless of their location. Furthermore, technology can help to break down barriers to entry for women entrepreneurs, by providing access to funding and resources that were previously inaccessible.

However, it is important to acknowledge that technology is not a silver bullet for gender equality. There are still significant barriers to women’s access to technology, particularly in developing countries and marginalized communities. Women also face significant challenges in the tech industry itself, where they are often underrepresented and face discrimination and harassment. This is why it is important to champion women in business all year round and to ensure that they have equal access to the opportunities that technology can provide.

By promoting women’s access to technology, breaking down barriers to entry, and challenging unconscious biases and stereotypes, we can work towards a more equal and inclusive future for all.

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