Achieving a balancing act for real  

The world has been celebrating International Women’s Day for over 100 years and, despite a century passing, one thing still remains at the top of the agenda - moving towards a gender balanced society.  

Initially, International Women’s Day focused on women’s rights in the workplace.  But gender balance has an impact in all areas of life, and International Women’s Day now addresses areas beyond the workplace.

Significant strides have been made across the corporate world to achieve a gender balanced society.  Many organisations have developed diversity strategies and are making bold pledges  - SKY’s ambition for 50:50 gender balance by 2020 being one such notable commitment.  One hundred companies have signed up to the Paradigm for Parity coalition  with the goal of achieving full gender parity by 2030.  But what does gender parity mean for all of us today, and is this type of action enough?  

The International Women’s Day campaign theme in 2019 is ‘BalanceforBetter.’  Although not a new topic, its connotations are complex and far reaching, and mean different things to each of us.  To help understand this more we asked some of our colleagues at Moorhouse the simple question ‘What does gender balance mean to you?’  

From the importance of role modelling to finding their inner child undeterred by gender stereotyping, a snapshot of views from Moorhouse employees shows how optimistically a gender balanced society is understood: 

‘Gender balance to me means having a variety of role models for us to look to.  It means mixed groups of teams and friends, where everyone feels included, comfortable and confident to make their equally meaningful contributions.  It also means a working world free of arbitrary comparison and bias.’ – Lauren Grant, Senior Consultant    

‘It means a society where we no longer have the old restrictions and stereotypes around jobs and roles that are either ‘male’ or ‘female.’  But equally a society, where we respect, value and encourage whatever path people choose to follow.  Balance for me is about opportunity – not necessarily about point in time statistics.’ – Alex Goodman, Senior Consultant    

‘To me, gender balance is when I find my inner child who’s blissfully undeterred by social biases and predefined paths.  It’s having the confidence, encouragement and support to be the best I can be; living and breathing my passions, playing to my strengths and being unafraid to jump into the unknown.’ – Liz Williams, Manager  

‘I think gender balance is achieved when behaviours, traits and personalities are not attached or related to a specific gender type.  For example, women who have strong leadership skills should be able to continue to develop these effectively, without being labelled as bossy.  Men who are sensitive and emotional should be able to express themselves, without being labelled as weak.’ – Eliot Williams, Senior Consultant  

‘Gender balance is about great role models, both men and women, who support your ambitions, and understand your challenges.  Balance goes far beyond just gender though - it transcends ethnicity, sexuality, backgrounds and personality types and it’s exciting to think what our collective power will be when we reach this.  In the end, it’s all a question of balance, isn’t it?’ – Amelia Gillingwater, Consultant   

‘Balance for Better reflects our commitment to striving for gender balance in Moorhouse.  We recognise that this is a journey and it is a journey we are on together.  Together we will make a positive difference.’ – Richard  Goold, Partner   

For us at Moorhouse, achieving the right balance is key to employee satisfaction, as well as our business performance and sustainability.  We also support our clients as they strive for balance.  Although we still have work to do, we continue to make this a focus within our firm.    

We are particularly proud of the equality and transparency in base pay across the company, and we are committed to the support and development of all of our people, particularly women into senior level positions.  

So while ‘BalanceforBetter’ may not be a new topic for International Women’s Day, it is one which is vital to achieving a society where all can flourish and should always be part of our thinking when we plan the structure of the organisations we work for, and the society we live in.   

Have a meaningful International Women’s Day from everyone at Moorhouse! 

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Suzanne MacRae Principal