March 6, 2019 | 3 minute read
This Friday, men and women around the globe will join together in celebration of International Women’s Day—a global day recognizing the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The first International Women’s Day gathering took place more than 100 years ago. Many countries now observe the day by reflecting on progress made and celebrating the acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. But how is it relevant today and to our industry?
This year’s theme is Balance for Better. Below are some important areas where industry experts explore what that balance means:
Creating Balance Through More Women in Leadership Roles
In a 2018 article published by CBNC―“Why Companies with Female Managers Make More Money”―the author notes, “Having female senior leaders creates less gender discrimination in recruitment, promotion and retention. That gives a company a better chance of hiring and keeping the most qualified people.”
A 2016 research study―“Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey”―found that companies that have women in top management roles experience what we call “innovation intensity” and produce more patents—by an average of 20 percent more than teams with male leaders.
Keeping Female Engineers
In conjunction with Beth Michaels, president of consulting firm Primer Michaels, the Society of Women Engineer’s conducted a 2016 gender culture study. Michaels noted that "STEM companies are meeting their hiring goals, and there is a fairly long honeymoon period―five to eight years. Then something happens and women leave. We want retention goals to look like hiring goals."
The study began after determining that while women make up 20% of engineering graduates, they make up only 11% of practicing engineers. In addition, 30% of women left not because of a lack of work life balance or lack of opportunities to get ahead, but because of work place culture issues such as a lack of accountability. Michaels added that accountability was their number one personal and desired cultural value, and the one they said was missing from their workplaces.
Creating Policies That Encourage More Work Life Balance for All Employees
As the Rockefeller Foundation discusses in "Women in Leadership―Why it Matters", sizable majorities think that having more women in leadership positions would have significant positive impacts in the workplace, including helping to reduce the pay gap between men and women doing the same work (76%), changing workplace policies in ways that benefit both men and women (74%), and attracting a more diverse workforce (71%).
A 2018 article by Forbes points out that men suffer the health consequences of overwork. This is due in part because “much less attention is focused on the unhealthy messages boys and men receive—to work at all costs, to grind it out no matter what, to devote time to family only if it fits around a corporate schedule. Men are less likely than women to ask for, never mind demand, flexibility.”
Some organizations believe that the lives of men and women can be greatly improved by creating mandatory parental leave policies, meaning both men and women would have the quality time needed to bond with their new family members. Additional research by Bloomberg found that while half of fathers think men should take paternity leave, only 36% actually take all their permitted leave.
In 2017, The Economic Times published an article―“Men Struggle as Much as Women to Maintain Work Life Balance”―that found “men often do not feel comfortable discussing work-family concerns because of fears of being stigmatised (sic), threats to their masculinity or negative career repercussions.”
Like many organizations, John Crane is actively working toward creating a rewarding work environment for all employees, women and men alike.
Professional Women’s Network
By encouraging our global sites to develop a Professional Women’s Network (PWN), we are creating a space for our employees to develop, learn and lead. The PWN is a global volunteer program open to men and women in professional roles whose mission is to strengthen the network of high performing professional women within the organization and move them into senior leadership roles in every function.
John Crane’s parent company, Smiths Group, has developed a mentorship program to connect, empower and inspire. This cross-divisional networking opportunity is a great way to foster career development and help both mentors and mentees gain knowledge and develop both professionally and personally.
Celebrating International Women’s Day
Our PWN chapters around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day in ways unique to their location. Employees are encouraged to come together in celebration of gender equality by hosting educational and fun events to recognize this special day.
How will your company be celebrating International Women’s Day?