International Womens Day: 7 practical things you can do to promote gender equality today

The gender pay gap has is now 136 years (World Economic Forum Gender Pay Gap Report 2021).  That means only in 136 years will men and women have equal pay.

What could we do to accelerate the closure of this gap?  By individually promoting equal behaviours and attitudes towards culture at work and gender roles at home, we can have real and practical impact – for us and the next generation.  Yes, other measures are required to accelerate the reduction of the 136 years from government and corporate policies and law, but for our children, if it’s to come more naturally for them, awareness of our own behaviour and actions on theirs and how we can shift it, will reap rewards for the future.  Gender roles and bias start at home and are carried into the workplace from there.

Let’s attack it from all angles! These practical steps will create change, one step at a time.  I’ve been a Board Director, backpacker, stay at home mum, contractor, part time worker, self-employed and a founder of a new business.  These steps come from years of observation and a passionate desire for my daughter to experience something different.  Every connection we make, positive or negative, impacts someone’s view of the world.  This could be yours, or someone else’s based on your behaviour or actions.  Some are what I do, and others are what I wish others who set an example would do differently.  You can start today, now.

The world of 1950s working man with wife at home is many years out-of-date, but sadly so much of our existence is still set up as if it wasn’t.  It is damaging our mental health every single day, and upholding a culture that doesn’t recognise that is blocking our future equality.  These practical steps all stem from the desire to break this mould and the whole work construct that goes with it.  Start today with just the one that resonates most with you.

7 practical ways you can impact gender bias today

  1. Accept, welcome, encourage women and men that you manage at work to talk about what they have to do around/within working hours to manage parenting – and encourage and support them. The more women and men have to ‘hide’ this – the more companies can carry on regardless, ignoring these tasks like it was 1950 and every worker had a housewife at home waiting with the dinner on the table when they got home.  We need to make it OK, expected, applauded, that we support our families in and around our work.  This is the culture all organisations need for us, and the next generation of parent workers who need to see that having a family is not going to be to the detriment of their careers and vice versa.
  2. If you are a woman, stop saying, “Yes I do have to leave at 5, but I’ll be back on line after the kids have gone to bed!”. Have you ever heard a man feel the need to justify the time they left the office or state for everyone to hear when they are fulfilling their hours?  This not only is bad for you but it’s bad for the next generation of women who you manage thinking the only way ahead is to promise to work overtime.  A culture of trust that staff work their hours is what’s needed without your junior having to think that being a mother means logging back on at 8.30pm every night.  And while we are here, don’t question why a man needs to pick up his kids either.
  3. Teach your children the skills of housework young, and equally. Help them to learn what it really means to tidy their room practically, have them clearing the table, stacking the dishwasher, bringing down the washing, for the good of the household rather than cash ideally.  Demonstrate this as both male and female role models in the home.
  4. Read them Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, giving them kick ass role models as well as princesses (ideally instead of!), and the equivalent books for boys.
  5. Don’t just complain about the mental load, do something about it! Read my blog on the topic here providing practical ways we can all help reduce the mental load.  Hint: any man worth their salt wants it too.  The dinosaurs really are dying out but we need proactive behaviour to maximise on that.
  6. Use The Serenely Sorted Mental Downloader to save your brain a little bit of mental-load ache every day – see my guest blog on The Nourish App here on how to use it!
  7. Really think about what you can do at home to create space to relax every night. The Serenely Sorted System can definitely do this, but there are plenty of ways you can take your first step.  It’s about you creating space to do one thing to create an ‘ahhhhh’ moment every day.  This could be using the new functionality of Apple iPhones that helps you focus, and switch off notifications from your phone.  I did this last night and felt a real tangible difference to m ability to be present with my husband and kids.  My website and instagram @serenely.sorted can give you plenty of other ways, including my online course and 121 programme.

I believe and hope that at least a few of the seven ways above will resonate with you.  A few things YOU can do both for yourself and to help reduce the 136 years – because not only does it need corporations to create mass change from their end but we need to do our job to change individual behaviours and set an example to our children.  If we all did even a few, we could definitely get it back to the pre-pandemic 100 years – and hopefully beyond.

Diana Spellman is the Founder of Serenely Sorted. With 20 years corporate experience in systems and process improvement, she used those skills to address the ‘Mess Stress’ in her own life after working from home meant she couldn’t get away from the piles that had built up over time – and created the unique Serenely Sorted System, helping individuals and business create home environments that work well, with less effort, less mess stress and time saved every week on the drudgery. Diana helps individuals via her Serenely Sorted DIY online course and 121 Six Steps to Sorted programme, as well as delivering webinars to slot into staff wellness programmes, short ‘lunch & learn’ headliners and 1-2-1 programmes for senior staff (more on corporate here).

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