Women tell Moneyish how female-friendly policies helped them get ahead
Small organizational changes can drive big workforce advancement for women.
That’s according to new research from Accenture, which talked to 22,000 university-educated men and women across 34 countries. Indeed, Accenture’s economic models predict that by creating female-forward environments, “globally, for every 100 male managers, there could be up to 84 female managers, as opposed to the current ratio of 100 to 34.” What’s more, women would be four times as likely to reach senior manager and director levels, and see their pay jump by 51%, which represents an additional $30,000 per woman each year.
And it doesn’t take all that much to create these kinds of female-forward environments. While creating “culture change is not simple,” explains Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer, there are simple, concrete policies that can change the culture of a company to propel women forward. Here are the 14 main factors that contribute the most to gender equality in the workplace:
A diversity target/goal that is shared outside the organization
Gender diversity is a priority for management
The organization clearly states gender pay gap goals and ambitions
Progress has been made in attracting, retaining and progressing women
The company has a women’s network open only to women
The company has a women’s network that is open to both women and men
Men are encouraged to take parental leave
Employees have never been asked to change appearance to conform to company culture
Employees have the freedom to be creative and innovative
Virtual/remote working is widely available and is common practice
The organization provides training that keeps skills relevant
Employees can avoid overseas/ long distance travel via virtual meetings
Employees can work from home on a day when have a personal commitment
Employees feel they can report sexual discrimination/ harassment incident(s) to company
This isn’t just another study without real, practical implications: Women who already have these kinds of policies work say they have helped them advance in their careers.
For Kendall Giglio, reaching and staying at director level at her company, digital marketing firm Elite SEM, was helped along by a number of female-friendly policies– being able to work remotely chief among them. After having two children, Elite SEM let Giglio relocate from their Los Angeles office, to North Carolina, where her extended family members – who helps with childcare – lives.
“My husband and I realized we didn’t want to raise our kids in Los Angeles,” Giglio, who is now director of conversion rate optimization after being promoted a from manager, explains. “I’m 100% remote now,” she says adding that she only has to travel “infrequently” for client meetings and conducts most of them over the phone or on video chat. The move, she says, “allows me to be there for my children and pick them up from school and still do what I love to do [workwise].”
Wendy Steinle, the senior director of marketing strategy and operations for Adobe, says that she’s finally felt like she found a “soulmate” in a company — in large part because of their female friendly policies. After pledging in 2016 to pay women the same as they pay men, Adobe announced in 2017 that it had officially achieved pay parity, with women earning $1 for every $1 a man earns. “I feel valued and I give way more than what is reasonable for that,” she says of how important the policy is to her life.
The culture at Adobe has made it possible for her to make a significant impact, she says. “I was given a seat at the table on day one,” she says of being asked to attend a global marketing strategy meeting with senior staff on her first day. And, she says, that kind of support continued: “Within my first seven months of work, I was [speaking] on stage at a worldwide sales conference for our new go-to-market strategy,” she says.
And for Laura Morganelli, a financial advisor at Abacus Wealth Partners, having so many women at her firm, as well as solid female-friendly benefits like the firm paying for caregivers to accompany parents on trips, has helped her realize that she wants to stay put and advance her career at the firm. “It’s a male-driven industry but I look around [at Abacus] and see 50% of our advisors are female, women on our board, women partners, women on the investment committee,” she says. “As a female who’s ambitious, it’s powerful.”
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