The anniversary of women rights to vote has furthered the discussion about inequality in women’s salaries, inequality of roles, the right of women to choose, the so-common non-satisfactory behaviour towards women in general. What should be expected in the next years?
As it is possible to see when reviewing the Suffragettes movement (1918), this was an important part of a very big struggle for women’s rights and participation. Not all the achievements have been a consequence of the Suffragettes movement, while at the same time it is also obvious that the Suffragettes did not achieve a vote for all women. (http://www.parliament.uk/about/livingheritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/).
The dilemmas faced by women continue to be “on the table”, even despite of the fact that many politicians (women and men) have promised to substantially change the circumstances that women face at home, at work, and in society as a whole. There has been progress in a number of areas, no doubt. But there is a lot to be done yet.
In an interview broadcasted today by Radio Four programme “Woman’s Hour” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b09qb08c ), Dame Helena Morrissey (Legal & General Investment Management) talked about her own experience. She mentioned her own case in which as a woman with a child she was consequently deemed as lacking-of-interest for their professional career and denied a promotion. Dame Morrissey brought to the discussion a recurrent topic, how is that although there is a progress in the percentage of women acting as a Non-Executive Directors in FTSE companies (reaching around 28% participation), the progress across executive positions and Chairs/Presidents of other organisations is still negligible.
The presence of women on the boards and top management positions may encourage other women to target high in their careers. It seems evident that having women on Boards and different levels of Management can also help to attain a better understanding of the different attributes, skills and behaviours that are typical of some women and men. The issue is to prop up quality to the right levels of any organisations, not because they are women or men, but because they are capable and bring new viewpoints that benefit the businesses and organisations.
The issue is that any worker, manager and non-executive must be inspired, supported and promoted in a way that they can develop to their full potential. Women cannot continue to be penalised or subject to undue demands and difficulties because of their sex or the complexity of their (family) responsibilities. Women need to be valued as a direct result of what they contribute to their jobs and to society. As we have stated in previous articles, those organisations that value their (women) workers, managers and non-executive directors are rewarded with their personnel’s loyalty and escalating performance.
Companies and organisations that value and treat fairly all women (and men) working for them will, more frequently, be rewarded with higher and more balanced long-term performance and benefits for shareholders and stakeholders as a whole.