International Women's Day has really gained momentum in the last five years. I often hear the question, “How can we, as Supply Chain leaders, get more involved in International Women’s Day?”
As a result I thought I would provide some ideas on how Supply Chain leaders can get more involved in International Women's Day.
International Women's Day
International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The 2024 theme for IWD is ‘inspire inclusion: collectively we can all play a part.’
Much progress is still required for advancing gender equity in the workplace. A 2023 Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey & Company and Lean In, found that one of the biggest barriers to women’s advancement in their careers and in the workplace is at the critical first step in entry-level to manager.
The study found ‘that for every 100 men promoted from entry-level to manager, 87 women are promoted. And this gap is trending the wrong way for women of colour: this year, 73 women of colour were promoted to manager for every 100 men, down from 82 women of colour last year.’
A further recent 2023 report by the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency states that the current gender pay gap in Australia is 21.7%.
For Supply Chain why does the above figure matter, other than making sure our sector has a level playing field? The main reason is that it can have a big positive impact on your supply chain function.
We have found that most managers are prioritising influencing and relationship building skills when assessing candidates for their vacancies. We have found through using our psychometric assessment tool (Talogy) to assess hundreds of candidates, that females in Supply Chain bring overall stronger natural abilities in their area.
The Women in the Workplace study also revealed that bias contributes to women being passed over for jobs and promotions, and almost 60% of women regularly experience microaggressions at work.
On a positive note, 87% of companies are highly committed to gender equity, which often comes from senior leaders, management and male employees. This is a huge increase from 56% in 2012.
So what are the benefits of getting involved in IWD other than “it's a nice thing to do.”
A Harvard Business Review study found that gender diversity leads to more productive companies. Gender diversity increases innovation, ideas and creativity and diverse teams build stronger connections with clients and customers.
The study also found that diverse and inclusive company cultures lead to more satisfied employees. Happy employees are more productive, more likely to stay at the company for longer, and more likely to recommend the company to others as a great place to work.
Women bring another diverse skill-set to Supply Chain. In the same way that more diverse Supply Chains are more successful, a more diverse workforce makes a business more successful.
At Reimagine Talent we conduct work style assessments when candidates register with us. We have found some core skill sets that female candidates tend to score higher in, male candidates tend to score lower in, in comparison. These skill sets are:
Influence and persuasion
Planning and priority setting
Another Interesting point of difference between male and female candidates is that males score higher with ‘Directing’ leadership styles and females score higher with ‘Leading and Coaching others’.
These skill sets are vital to have within Supply Chain teams and hiring a more diverse team can provide a balance of these skill sets to help the function perform at its optimal level.
How can you practically contribute to IWD?
There are many types of events and activities happening on IWD, and anyone anywhere can hold an IWD event. Here are some ideas for the Supply Chain industry:
Attending an industry specific event - attending and even inviting (or taking) a female colleague to an event like this is a great way to get involved.
Hold a breakfast/lunch or morning tea at your office - you could ask a female colleague to share their experience working and building their career in Supply Chain
Review your Supply Chain for opportunities to further support women-led small businesses
Organise a fundraiser for charities that support women
With this all in mind, how can you work towards having a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce?