Two days ago I read a shared LinkedIn post from a young lady insisting that a job advertised encouraging “Female Applicants” was “Gender Bias” and not creating Job Equality. It went on to note – ” if we want to preach Equality as women, posts highlighting ‘Female Applicants Encouraged to Apply’ is counterproductive to acquiring ‘Gender Equality’.
The post required the filling of a senior corporate role in the Banking Industry in one of London’s largest corporations long known for its male-driven Board of Directors. I understood the argument at-a-glance, but it perked my interest to learn more about precisely what the company hoped to achieve and why they would see the need to publicly encourage female applications.
-They had not done so before, so why now?
As it turns out, and like my statement above the public perception of that corporation has for generations been viewed as a male-driven environment. So much so, that it became routine and socially accepted without even a thought to the lack of female leadership in its corporate governance. As a result, there was a genuine short-flow of qualified female applications to consider.
The birth of new ideas, social creativity, global market networks, diversified brand culture standards and the need for female leadership in aid of global corporate presence made it a point to start something new in changing the way they were to be perceived internally and externally. As a major company, recognising these global shifts and essential dialogues would be the difference between market share growth or shortcomings from failure to adapt.
As an experienced Recruiter and People Development Consultant, I hadn’t found this statement of ‘Gender Equality’ in this particular context without its shortcomings and after a taking a closer look at the opportunity in question it was clear to see not all opportunities are created equally.
Generalising ‘Gender Equality’ in this case was counterproductive. It takes reasonable action from significant corporations to recognise the importance of a diversified environment and strengthen that change. There is a considerable gap yet to be merged, but how that is seen and achieved are very different from the words itself ‘Gender Bias’ and ‘Gender Equality,’ when loosely characterised.
This movement in the workplace is not to only ensure women will have the same opportunity to the application selection process for the mere purpose of advertisement but to ensure women can have an equal voice, acceptance and economic growth in roles traditionally male-driven and dominated.
It requires a mindset change and a breakthrough of traditional norms that is balanced through facts, not petty arguments but real hard facts. The fact that, the corporation in question made it a point to encourage “Female Applicants ” is not undermining the fight in ‘Gender Equality’ but quite the opposite while breaking the stereotypical norms by actually doing something compelling about it and changing its brand culture.
If major corporations intend to create a new level of brand association, it requires a re-branding of its century-old ideas and an integration of language and processes that are smarter and can fundamentally integrate into global markets regardless of gender.