BoKlok on #EmbraceEquity
Each year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th, and during the same week, the construction industry recognises Women in Construction.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘embrace equity’. Equity is an important concept for a future-proofed workplace, but it is less widely understood than the word equality.
Equality is about giving everyone equal resources. Equity recognises that not everyone starts in the same position, and that it is sometimes necessary to distribute resources in a way that enables everyone to achieve the same outcome.
Why do we need equity?
It has been widely researched how bias gets built into systems based on the people who made them. Since a lot of workplaces have predominantly been populated by white males, the systems within those workplaces also tend to be biased towards this majority, meaning there are challenges to face. Research shows that some of the challenges that women experience in the workplace include:
- Having skills and competencies questioned, or it being assumed to be more junior.
- There is still a stronger expectation for women to take a larger proportion of childcare or other family care giving roles, and they are more likely than men to make use of the available workplace policies on this, which means the risk of losing professional opportunities in the meantime.
- Having to deliver a higher performance to achieve the same levels of progression than men, as they are held to a higher standard.
These challenges can be heightened further for individuals who have more than one marginalised identity, for example black women, women with a disability or trans women.
What can we each do to embrace equity in the workplace?
For example, at BoKlok we have responsibility for our entire value chain and see it as important that we create the right environment for everyone to thrive. BoKlok as an employer also offers a wide variety of roles which helps us to attract different people. And by building modular, we naturally create opportunities for a wider range of people, roles and skills than with traditional construction methods.
But everyone can play a role in supporting a more equitable workplace and there are many ways to do this. While doing so, it is important that we don’t let the work to undo inequalities fall on those who are most affected by it. We all need to be a good ally to see more changes happening.
Some simple suggestions on how we all can be a better ally in the workplace include:
- Check in with all employees how they feel about their current workplace with regards to gender equality.
- Create an environment where all team members feel comfortable to share their thoughts and experiences.
- Maintain a level of awareness in meetings or discussions that everyone’s competency is being used as effectively as it can be.
- Ensure women are considered for mentoring and development opportunities as these can really help support career advancement.
- Seek out other perspectives and ideas that are different from your own, making the most of diversity to achieve a stronger performance together.
At BoKlok, we still have a long way to go before we achieve a gender balance in every area of our business and truly embrace equity, but we continue to actively work towards this.