The month of March is known for celebrating women. Women’s achievements, issues, concerns, commitment and challenges are highlighted and discussed throughout the month uniquely and memorably. We recently celebrated International women’s day, where the theme was #Choosetochallenge. Currently, the sixty-fifth session of The Commission on the Status of Women (CWS65) is underway till 26th March. Such events are influential in shaping the current global policy framework on women’s empowerment and gender equality. This got me thinking about women in the workplace.
Previously, women had a very different role in the workplace and workforce than they do now. Today, a working woman is very different from a working woman twenty years ago in terms of pay, role, perception, education, and many others. The evolution can be credited to social, cultural, legislation changes and women empowerment campaigns done by those before us. The working woman’s growth has made the workplace better, enriching and enhancing the organisations they work with and for. Women are powerful change agents, and the far-reaching benefits of diversity and gender parity in leadership and decision making are increasingly being felt and recognised in the workplace. The ripple effect is being experienced and will continue to be by future generations who will have immense opportunities. To celebrate these changes, below are some high brought about by trailblazing women in the workplace;
- More women are bringing advanced education in the workforce
In the past, social and cultural barriers discouraged career advancement for women. Education has been a founding block for their career success. Currently, women have outnumbered men in institutes of higher education. This can largely be attributed to women empowerment, which emphasises women investing in professional investment to better plan their future. In return, Women are becoming better positioned in the workplace. There has been an increase in women entering a much broader occupation range, a sharp contrast from the previous supportive and nurturing roles. Advanced education in women has also been pivotal in addressing issues such as the wage gap, decision-making power, access and control over resources, and leadership roles.
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2. More women are venturing into previously male-dominated fields.
Previously, STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering and maths-field were known to be pursued by men. Currently, 15% of the STEM jobs are filled by women, increasing from 9% in 2010. Women are slowly making a name for themselves in the STEM field. Organisations such as Akira chix and Kamilimu have been at the forefront of mentoring women in the STEM fields. With the increase in STEM courses uptake, more women are helping break gender stereotypes, getting a wider variety of well-paying jobs. More women are also available to mentor young girls entering the field.
3. More women are breaking the glass ceiling.
There is a new wave of women completely shattering the glass ceiling. Women are ascending to leadership roles despite the many barriers along the process. The infusion of women into these roles has seen companies experience positive outcomes in market performance, financial performance and brand reputation. More women should volunteer to take up high profile assignment to continue this trend, something they shy from mainly due to Impostor syndrome. Women should also Take up leadership training and sponsorship opportunities, positioning then strategically to ascend to leadership roles.
If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”―
4. More women are turning to entrepreneurship.
More women are making boss moves and turning into entrepreneurship. The move is mainly due to; the pursuit of more flexibility while juggling between family and business, following their passion, pursuing quick career advancement, and escaping the glass ceiling. The availability of grants from NGO’s, government and private sector to fund women-owned business is playing a pivotal role in supporting women entrepreneurship.
5. Great emphasis on women rights in the workplace
The modern workplace has been at the forefront of championing Women rights. Conscious efforts are continually being made to make the environment conducive for women employees. More corporates now allow women to express themselves, their thoughts, grow, contribute and feel safe while doing so. Policies have also been put in place and are being implemented to curb gender-based discrimination from the recruitment stage all through to when one exits an organisation. The beauty of upholding women’s right in the workplace has been that women can now access and enjoy the same resources and opportunities as men, which is evident in their work output.
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