Equality as a Business Issue
International Women's Day, a focal point in the movement for women's rights, is dedicated to building a gender-balanced world.
The So’SPIE Ladies Network (SSLN) was created by European multi-technical services contractor and SPIE UK parent company, SPIE Group, to remove barriers by challenging stereotypes of female employees in the built environment sector.
SPIE UK CSR manager (and UK So’SPIE Ladies Network representative) Carolyn Gindein, explains:
"We all live with unconscious biases developed over our lifetimes, and these are perpetuating the exclusion of women and girls from STEM careers. In my experience, girls at school aren’t widely encouraged to consider a career in engineering or other STEM industries, although there are a multitude of roles within those sectors that girls would be encouraged to consider in other industries.
"Reports such as McKinsey’s Delivering through Diversity have shown that women bring a different perspective to work, and potentially a more inclusive approach, which in turn has a positive impact on business outcomes and success. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in executive teams were 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability and 27 percent more likely to show superior value creation.
"Whilst most gender biases are unintentional, the ramifications are detrimental to the engineering sector and only compound the persistent skills gap. Only by raising our own awareness, consciously changing the things we say, our behaviours and our expectations can we change the future. In terms of careers, we must support and encourage young women to increase their expectations, be more open-minded in their choices and view all opportunities as gender neutral – it’s people who add the implied gender association.”
Events around the world will be promoted with the hashtags #BalanceforBetter and #IWD2019.