To recognise International Women’s Day, our Melbourne office had a discussion recently at Friday lunch around women in leadership positions. This conversation commenced with a viewing of a TEDTalk by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and advocate for women’s rights. The TEDTalk was titled Why we have too few women leaders
The talk outlines some statistics around the lack of women in leadership positions, despite increases in female graduates. It highlights some barriers to women advancing in the workplace.
Sheryl Sandberg offers three recommendations to women in the workplace to overcome these barriers:
• Lean in: women often need to be more confident, negotiate more, and take ownership of their success
• Make your partner a real partner: this is an issue for both men and women, and as a community we need to acknowledge the role of both men and women in the home and the workplace
• Don’t leave before you leave: it is important to encourage staff to continue to be engaged and challenged in their roles both before and after parental leave.
Since its inception, Alluvium has supported both men and women employees in balancing their family and workplace responsibilities. This is achieved by fostering a family-friendly workplace, as well as encouraging flexible working hours, parental leave and part-time arrangements. One regional manager is currently part-time.
Our open forum discussion acknowledged these positive aspects, but also identified that as a workplace we want to strive for further advancement.
Alluvium encourages diversity in opinions and approaches at all levels and roles within the company, but how do we make this happen? How do we continue to facilitate part-time positions at a management level?
How do we encourage everyone to question and challenge their unconscious bias? And how do we create an environment that enables and benefits from the attributes that women bring to leadership and the workplace?
We finished the discussion with a view of doing more - at both a management and a workplace level, and continuing to strive for a workplace that values diversity.
Sheryl Sandberg giving her TEDTalk about women in leadership positions.Image from Ted Blog.