The conversation on gender balance at workplaces has grown multifold and more organizations are realizing the business benefit of having more women at work, believes Kathryn Woof, Managing Director at 33 Talent based in Singapore.

Gender equality as a concept in the workplace begins with what is happening in the home and it has assumed a more recognized importance. When a huge organization like Facebook gives equal leave to new parents, whether they be the mother or the father, and insists that the leave is taken, others sit up and listen.  Those with a balanced home life stand a much greater chance of being able to fulfill their ambitions in the workplace.  Equally, men in leadership positions are more likely to support the gender equality movement if they have a full understanding of how parenthood intersects with the rest of a person’s life.

While analyzing the data to see the ground reality, it has been seen that in the last few years there has been much reporting and highlighting of the data that provides an overview of the numerical strength of female board directors there are on stock exchanges, or the difference in pay between genders.  “For an issue to be truly addressed, we have to know the reality of where we are starting from and measure how that data changes over time. The conversation itself has become louder and is addressed on more occasions. There is simply more being said than ever on this subject,” according to Kathryn.

Diversity @ Workplace

Kathryn stresses on the need to create a desire for diversity in the workplace. This means executives, hiring managers and their teams making a conscious move to branch out of their unconscious biases and believing in the business benefits of a diverse team.

Equipping executives and teams with the right tools to assess talent that is diverse and perhaps different from their stereotypical hire are important. Changing one’s own mindset is always challenging, that’s why it takes time. More than gender, different ways of assessing someone who has a different approach is what makes us rethink of different approaches we might have to lean on to, for making this an inclusive process.

The momentum of movement requires everyone to step up and it is not just about men stepping up. Either there is a business imperative to address diversity, or there is not.  As the data is there to tell us it would be beneficial to change, all staff in a company can work on this issue together for the greater good of their workplace. This isn’t a movement about women versus men. The focus is a clear business benefit in having a diverse mindset making decisions and implementing them, and applying a range of different styles to get to the end result.

Kathryn believes that community support will act as an accelerating catalyst of change. Sisterhood could be a stepping stone for budding pioneers of change with necessary mentorship and assistance and those who are already up there, could provide a trustworthy circle to rely on. The challenge of gender equality in workplace hence requires an understanding as well as internal evaluation of one’s own biases.