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The Future of Work: 6 Ways to Create Gender-Inclusive Cultures

To commemorate International Women’s Day, we’d like to highlight the critical issue of retaining and empowering women in the workplace. This day prompts us to reflect on the achievements in gender equality while critically addressing the gaps that persist in the professional realm.  

empowering women in the workplace

By chatting with various women at the forefront of the technology and Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC) industries, we aim to shed light on effective strategies that support women’s career advancement and retention. These insights provide valuable lessons on creating a workplace that attracts, nurtures, and retains talented employees. 

The Challenge: The retention of talented women in the workplace presents a multifaceted challenge, requiring a blend of policy, culture, and support mechanisms to address effectively. 

Advice from the Field  

Acknowledge Women’s Multifaceted Work-Life Roles 

“I’ve noticed an encouraging movement with companies crafting inventive practices to support women in their professional and personal lives,” said Lindsey Brown-Acquaye, CRCM, AAP, Valor Bank. “This shift highlights a company’s desire to foster gender equality by acknowledging that women often shoulder the responsibility as primary caregivers juggling multiple responsibilities at home while still showing up fully present at work.”  

“These companies have been extremely intentional about fostering an environment where diverse needs are heard, understood, and supported,” she added. 

“I am also seeing a greater commitment to work-life flexibility, going beyond simple acknowledgment or surface-level support. As a result, these inclusive workplaces are enticing and retaining talented women by directly addressing their unique needs and providing the necessary support for a thriving career.” 

Move Beyond Policy to Practice 

Christine Adeline, Chief Product Officer at SAI360, stresses the need for actionable diversity and inclusion efforts: “Diversity and inclusion programs are crucial…but organizations need to walk the talk.” Her statement reiterates the importance of moving beyond policy to practice in supporting women’s careers. 

Shift Work-Life Balance Norms for Professional Fulfillment 

Robbi-Lynn Watnik, Senior Consultant at Strategic Management Services, points to the shifting norms around work-life balance and the importance of flexible work arrangements. She shares an observation on the evolving understanding within leadership: “Leadership is more understanding if a child is ill; with the increased acceptance of working remotely, women can fulfill their professional responsibilities at home while caring for a child or other sick relative.”  

Prioritize Transparency 

Vanessa Childs, Chief Operating Officer at SAI360, says: “One word, transparency. Transparency with compensation information and promotion criteria helps to eliminate the gender biases that exist.” 

Champion Active Sponsorship and Representation 

Says Taguma Nicholas, Director of Data at Entegrata, active sponsorship is crucial. Here, leaders can advocate for women’s promotions. “Throughout my career, I’ve seen the transformative impact of providing women with leadership opportunities,” Nicholas says. 

“Encouraging women to lead high-visibility projects and participate in key decision-making processes boosts their career trajectories and enriches an organizational perspective. Continuous learning and transparent career pathways ensure women are equipped for advancement, and understand the criteria valued for progression,” she adds. 

It’s about seeing yourself reflected across all corners of where you work and can thrive. “Seeing representation at all levels is a key motivator for career progression and highlights to the wider industry the critical role women play in the advancement of technology,” Nicholas states. “These steps are essential to creating a culture where women’s voices are heard and their ideas valued, thereby shaping a more resilient and innovative business environment.” 

Build Self-Confidence and a Strong Personal Brand 

Women need to have self-confidence and this can come through personal and professional development along with the right support. It’s crucial to provide women with the support, community, and resources necessary for their advancement. This includes forming a supportive network, consisting of truth-tellers, sponsors, mentors, and advocates, dedicated to helping women progress to the next level in their careers,” shares Jennifer Huffman, Vice President at Workplace Solutions Relationship Manager. 

“Emphasizing the importance of building a strong personal brand is a topic I’m passionate about sharing with other women. Research has consistently demonstrated that a robust personal brand can be transformative for professional growth and career development,” she says.  

“By cultivating a strong personal brand, women can unlock invaluable opportunities to propel their careers forward.” 

Final Thoughts 

The retention and empowerment of women in the workplace are contingent upon a holistic approach that includes mentorship, leadership opportunities, and a genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion.  

The above insights suggest that while challenges remain, the path forward involves a concerted effort to create supportive, flexible, and inclusive work environments. 

Let’s Start a Conversation

Happy International Women’s Day

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