The media frenzy may be dying down after the awareness campaign of #TimesUp at the Golden Globes, but the voices of women are still reverberating globally, crying out for nonsense outdated policies and general social norms to change. A picture has been painted of the perfect workplace; no sexual harassment, no mansplaining, more women in the higher arches of the career hierarchy and so on. So what could the workplace actually look like in light of these updated policies?
Well, we’d hope it’ll look exactly how the workplace functions for a man, but simply just with women in the picture. But with how quickly needs change, workplaces won’t just have to catch up to the decades of equality and diversity modernisation redesigns of 2018, but in order to retain us badass women, surely they would have to look to the near future, considering what women actually want out of the workplace in order to be truly equal to their male counterparts.
For example, it's nice to be able to have flexible working and be able to have a children and a career, if that's the life that you choose to have. But you may still have a hell of a commute to pick up the kids in time from daycare, or relieve the annoyed babysitter because she has missed the start of her yoga, or perhaps you actually don't like working from home with kids running around the house as tiny distractions. But what if workplaces decided to cater for this by having in-house nurseries based at the office? Not only can women continue their daily ritual, but daycare becomes less of a hassle by having it at their doorstep. It could even be a new business venture for the workplace offering the space; they could rent it out to a third-party partner nursery or build their own new company, creating new jobs.
And what about lessons and training for men so that they not only understand what's been going wrong all these years? That training could talk about consent and sexual misconduct or even the general notion of not being a dick to women, about recognising when others do it and preventing it from happening. It could be part of the induction — and could look something like Rachel Parris and Nish Kumar in this hilarious but on point sketch.
Or what about males having the same rights as women in terms of paternity leave? Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world and marks it as a leader in gender equality by granting five months off for fathers to share the responsibilities of a newborn with the mother (compared to the 2 weeks that males get here in the UK).
Employers would be amiss to shy away from opportunistic and innovative ideas similar to these. It would boost their prospective rates of employment and retention of those employees, workplace morale could rise, and with higher levels of happiness at work comes higher levels of quality work and profitability. It is a win-win for all.
Do you think Debra Messing can pop by and deliver leaflets on gender equality to our offices, and give them a good telling to as well?