Parity, Whats that?

OK, what’s Parity?

Why should I take 5 mins to read this….sounds DULL

Because it effects YOU,  now, this very minute, in fact for the rest of your working life. Plus it impacts on your daughters and your granddaughters working lives.

Part of my consultancy business is to look at the impact of economic and social inclusion. So I do tend to spend a bit of time in research and meeting people in communities and businesses.

So as my project How Dare She is all about empowering women, I decided to find out just how much women in general knew about their position in relation to equality and if in fact they really were interested! Or was it just the minority of women activists who cared about such issues and were possibly an embarrassment(and we secretly would prefer it they just hushed up?)

I discovered that for many women in the workplace, we have no real idea of what’s happening behind the scenes regarding how our present employment opportunities and choices are being mapped out and also our future, ours  and our daughters and even our granddaughters.

Many women I spoke to have strong opinions of what’s not working for us regarding, work, families, and finances, based on their personal experience and circumstances. However many women did not really know ‘why’ some of us are experiencing low pay, lack of leadership roles and a range of low paid careers opportunities?

SO now is the time to focus ladies!- do not switch off (as this sounds too heavy or boring)as this is important for us to know, so WE  can start participating in change and not be a passenger. 

Women in general are experiencing ‘occupational segregation’, which is the distribution and concentration of men and women in different kinds of jobs/occupations (horizontal segregation) or at different levels/grades (vertical segregation). It is widely accepted as an indicator of inequality, being a barrier that prevents both men and women from fulfilling their potential in the labour market and narrowing the recruitment pool available to employers. Occupational segregation impacts on social cohesion as well as economic performance, and therefore is a key issue that must be addressed.

Occupational segregation affects both men and women. It is, however, recognised that it tends
to be women who experience the negative consequences. This is demonstrated by one of the most
widely recognised measures and tangible impacts of gender segregation – the gender pay gap.

The UK is ahead of peers on gender parity in legal protection and entrepreneurship. However, women are working in less productive sectors and occupations, and being paid less period.

Achieving full gender parity—parity is where women are involved in the economy identically to men in terms of labour-force participation, hours worked, and sector mix of employment. If this was the case then women could add £600 billion of additional GDP to business-as-usual forecasts in 2025. This may seem an unattainable goal in the next ten years, but the prize of even partial progress towards parity is well worth striving for.

But who is addressing it, and why is it we don’t know what’s happening and what decisions are being made?

Well the positive is, that the Scottish Government, the United Nations, organisations such as your Council, your local MSP, Government bodies such as Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprises and even heads of employment sectors are all researching the reasons for inequality and looking for ways to narrow the gender gap. In other words to achieve ‘parity’ (100% equality)

OK, you may now be either, bored, or saying so what’s this got to do with me?

Everything!!  Even the United Nations have set 7 priorities which they think will have an impact on equality. BUT I feel its we women as individuals and as parents and leaders, that need to raise our awareness, and once we do, then we can participate in our own change, not be a passenger or a powerless observer.

So what can you do to turn this around?

Women in Leadership: Be a leader, apply for a that management role. Put your hand up and get a seat at the Boardroom table.

Women into STEM: (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths): Your daughters, granddaughters- suggest it as an option for a career. Did you know reports say girls are not good at maths!! Girls have no confidence !! We are being told this, so women are unconsciously complying!

Childcare and Unpaid Care: Lobby your politicians; Childcare costs are a huge cause for women to leave the workplace as is Unpaid care– women are generally are expected to care for children, relatives more so than men. Be aware of this, find out what care packages are out there- you will not be told, you need to find out and get that support.

Women in Entrepreneurship: Go for it!! Turn a passion into a business. Think out of the box, get support from the huge amount of organisations out there. A lot of which focus on women. Just google female entrepreneurship- you will be amazed the support that’s available.

Women in Politics: Take a role in your community. Gen up on what’s going on in politics. Add your voice, your opinions and always VOTE.

Social Attitudes and Mindsets: It’s Aye Been! Well lets change it.  Unconscious bias exists for women and this sometimes leads us to just accept or even not know that we are being discriminated against. We just accept our lot. So:

  • Stop THINK about what’s going on for you and find out what the bigger picture is. Start talking to other women and to your daughters. Start noticing, start naming what going on. Words being used, opinions and trends in the workplace for certain roles.
  • Change your attitude, influence your daughters, your work colleagues- start talking about this.
  • There is nothing wrong with wanting equality. In fact men want it too!

I recently participated in a one day female empowerment workshop, with Heather Gordon’s How Dare She project. I was very inspired by the women I shared the workshop with who were warm, caring, thoughtful, intelligent and powerful.

The workshop was insightful. I will now definitely employ the following 3 strategies to increase my power and influence:

  1. To recognise my strengths and promote them more widely to peers and seniors at work.
  2. Talk to my teenage step-daughters about how to empower themselves.
  3. Less shouting, more considered debating!

Dr Mariella Marzano

I hope this case study has opened your eyes to how you as a woman can make a difference. IF every women just made a few changes and became more empowered in her views and knowledge, maybe we will see parity sooner.

Lets stop talking and analysing, and start doing something about it. No matter how small, even awareness is a mighty step towards making changes.

Equality is a hot topic and has many elements attached to it.  It can also be a topic people prefer not to talk about(as they may find it too controversial) However once you start to think and once you start to realise that things could change for the better for everyone, men included, then your on the road to making change happen.

Female Empowerment Workshops in Scotland

If you like this case study and would like to take part in a female empowerment workshop, where we look at strategies which help us as individuals, in our life and in our place of workplace. Then check out these links and get in touch.

‘We remind women just how powerful and influential they really are.’ 

Have a powerful and participative day!