For International Women’s Day 2021 we #ChoosetoChallenge the perceptions of women in leadership and STEM
International women’s day has been observed since the early 1900’s when women’s rights to work, vote, be trained and hold public office were oppressed. Although we have come a long way since such times, International Women’s Day still holds significant relevance in today’s society where gender bias still acts as a barrier to equal opportunities for women.
The theme for International Women’s day 2021 is #ChoosetoChallenge
“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.” – IWD
As an equal opportunities employer, E+I Engineering are committed to supporting gender equality in the workplace which is why we are using the #ChoosetoChallenge theme to challenge gender bias towards Women in leadership and STEM.
Women in leadership
Far too often women in management and leadership roles are described as ‘Bossy’ when their male counterpart is described as ‘Assertive’. This is a key example of gender stereotyping in the workplace, with negative connotations attached to a persons actions based on gender. These perceptions act as a barrier to equality that must be broken down to encourage and support more women into leadership roles.
Diversity in leadership is good for business which is why it is becoming more important than ever to have more women in leadership roles. According to a report by Harvard business school on the male-dominated venture capital industry, the more similarity in investment partners the lower their investment performance was. Firms that increased the number of women in leadership by 10% saw average increase of 1.5% in returns.
Women in STEM
Gender bias in STEM career paths is also still a major issue today with less than 30% of the global STEM workforce being represented by females.
STEM is everywhere, it surrounds us in our everyday lives. Beyond calls for equality, there is a need for more women in STEM to drive innovation from a new perspective. How relevant can innovations really be if they are designed from a male dominant perspective, how well will the needs of women who make up half of the population be met?
Since 2016, the number of women STEM roles has increased by 216,552, taking the total number over 1 million! Whilst this is a great achievement there is still more work to be done.
In order to close the gender gap in both leadership and STEM roles, girls must be engaged from a young age and educated on the opportunities within leadership and STEM. Early exposure to such concepts can have a significant impact on a woman’s perceptions of her abilities. This must then be further nurtured through skills development and training programmes which can span from simple activities like school science fairs to professional development support for STEM graduates and beyond.
“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let’s all choose to challenge”- IWD
Hear from some of E+I Engineering’s talented female workforce and their unique perspectives on leadership and gender bias.
Hands up if you #ChoosetoChallenge
It’s important to have a culture of equality at all levels within a company. This must be fully embraced by the management and be visible in every department. A mentoring programme can help women to achieve their potential and feel more connected with the company. This will help to promote a culture where ideas/views from all genders are welcomed and respected.
– Helen Canny, Business Development Manager
The attribute I admire and believe are essential in good leaders is the ability to set a vision and guide and direct their team to deliver. Good leaders demonstrate integrity and in their daily work embed the company vision. Out of all attributes of a leader the one which I admire the most is the ability to take responsibility for their own or their teams mistakes and implement corrective actions quickly to resolve it, demonstrating the journey of learning or improving never ends.
– Trudy Butcher, Purchasing Officer
The world is full of inspiring women whose passion, work and impact in their community encourage us to choose a specific field of study, follow a certain career path, and become economically empowered.
We all know how female role models can have a great influence in advancing women’s economic empowerment. On international Womens day it is important to celebrate the acheievments of these women, to stamp out gender bias and inspire future generations of leaders and encourage women into STEM roles.
– Lailani Esmedilla, QHSE Manager
To the young female generation – remember that you have a freewill to design a better world for you to live in. Follow your passion and be courageous enough to embrace everything that will make you happy and succeed in your chosen field.
Gender is just a word – equality matters. Do not be intimidated by this world full of misconceptions about your capabilities and role as a woman.
– Giezelle Daoana, Logistics Officer
Gender bias in the workplace can be stamped out by actively encouraging the employment of both male and females in every department, the more gender diversity there is in team structures, the more individuals will realise and respect the capabilities of their female colleuages. Since joining E+I Engineering my experience has been that there are equal opportunities for all genders across all department. This structure opens up the minds off all employees and broken down barriers where both male and female colleagues work collaboratively on a daily basis.
– Grainne Dixon, Project Engineer
My definition of leadership surrounds purpose, support and inspiration. Though it is my responsibility to create accountability, success does not happen without my team. To achieve success, it is my responsibility to support my team in growth, development and pushing them outside of their comfort zone with the purpose of achieving their goals and aspirations. As leaders it is always our responsibility to ensure our team members not only feel a sense of purpose, but know they are our greatest asset. Leadership is having the courage to be honest in acknowledging that you are not the smartest person in the room and without your strengths by your side (my team), success is simply not possible. My hope is to inspire, coach, and be a role model to my team.
-Alison Hallett Hilton, Accounts Payable Manager
One of the most important criteria for any form of leadership is respect.
In order to stamp out gender bias in the workplace there needs to be a culture of diveristy, where everyone is treated with respect, regardless of background, age or gender, this is the stating point.
Diversity must be at the core of recruitmnet practices, for instance blind recruiting can be used to look past age, gender, and nationality.
– Jelyn Pertudo, Planning Engineer