Defining an Equitable View of the Workplace for Women
Pandemic Presents Opportunity to Redefine Our Workplaces to Better Reflect Diversity of Our Society
When activist Emmeline Pankhurst shackled herself to the railings over one hundred years ago, she was fighting a cause to give women equal relevance. As war struck, she made her fight for women relevant to the greater cause of the time - by encouraging their role in industrial production to help her country. Her fight was not about different treatment for women, but about promoting women’s equality in public life so they could make an equal contribution.
Time Magazine stated in 1999, when they named her one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, “She shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back”.
We are at a similar tipping point.
More than a century on from her remarkable legacy, the speed at which women have progressed in the workplace and society has been painfully slow. Is it because of discrimination, based on an innately biased and prescriptive way of reinforcing the way women are framed? Or perhaps it’s the result of women not “leaning in” or seizing the opportunities presented to them as Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, attributed the deficit in our sex’s professional success.
Perhaps this is what we are still grappling with. As a society, we allow historical stereotypes to dictate and frame the future of women. Just as Emmeline Pankhurst fought for the cause of female equality, we are still shaping the role of women around an idea that is not of our time.