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We can’t blame a pandemic for regression in workplace gender equality

By Crevan O’Malley | Country Manager, UK/I

HubSpot

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February 22, 2021 | 6 min read

CX Spotlight is an official supporter of International Women's Day 2021. Here, the conference’s organiser, HubSpot, explains why post-pandemic growth must be approached in an inclusive way.

As the UK starts to claw its way out of the latest national lockdown, we’re beginning to see a tentative reflection on the fall-out of the pandemic more generally. Unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that 2020 won’t go down in the history books as a year we made great strides tackling gender equality.

women standing

Early data suggests that a lot of the burden of the pandemic has fallen on women

Early data suggests that a lot of the burden of the pandemic has fallen on women and, in turn, has negatively impacted their careers. In the UK, we’ve seen claims that government policies have been ‘repeatedly skewed towards men’ and that they have ‘failed to consider the labour market and caring inequalities faced by women’. Issues that don’t appear to be localised to our own shores.

In the US, startling figures suggest that of the net 140,000 jobs lost in the US economy last December, all of them were held by women. These distressing figures demonstrate a longer-term challenge that needs addressing as economies start to rebound and we position for growth post-pandemic.

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Against such a backdrop, it’s never been more fitting that this year’s theme to International Women’s Day (IWD) is #ChooseToChallenge. It is a moment in time to remind the world about women’s achievements, raise awareness of women’s equality and push for progress.

At HubSpot, we’re showing our support for IWD in a tangible way. CX Spotlight, our virtual customer experience conference dedicated to leading women in the digital industry, is an official supporter of International Women’s Day 2021. Taking place on 2 March, we’ve purposely made the event free to register and packed the line-up with inspiring female speakers from LinkedIn to Revolut to Unilever.

We firmly believe that we can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality and that, collectively, we can all help create a more inclusive society. Simply put, we can’t lose our grip on gender equality. We can’t overlook the qualities women bring to the workplace that help businesses succeed and we can’t blame a pandemic for regression in workplace gender equality. In fact, businesses that do not empower women will be more likely to fail. A good example is Goldman Sachs, the giant multinational investment bank and financial services company, which recently claimed that it won’t take companies public if they have all-male corporate boards.

Yet it appears there’s still a great deal of work to do in many workplaces. Our latest HubSpot Sales Enablement Survey for the UK, which looked at how remote working and selling has changed company culture, revealed that while 60% of respondents agreed that women, in particular, have excelled at sales during the pandemic because they tend to be able to lead with a strong sense of empathy when engaging with customers, the percentage of women offered financial bonuses has dropped from 41% to 33% since the beginning of the pandemic.

Compare this to the 1% drop seen for men, down to 56%, which is already significantly higher. It’s clear the value women bring to organisations is still being overlooked and under-valued, and we believe this has to change immediately. But change only happens if there’s buy-in from the very top and a long-term vision for making changes a reality.

HubSpot’s fifth annual Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Report clearly sets out the progress we’ve made against diversity targets. It demonstrates some of the ways the business flexed over the last year to lead with empathy and support employees through the pandemic, from introducing more days off to providing a programme for families with virtual education sessions and extra entertainment to support those juggling work and caring duties.

While we’re proud of the progress we’ve made, we know we need to continue to ‘walk the walk’ to make strides to build a more inclusive and equitable company to be part of the lasting change we need to see across the industry.

As businesses of all sizes position for growth post-pandemic, it’s essential that they do it in an inclusive way to allow all employees equal ability to succeed and be rewarded for their hard work and commitment. However hard it has been for all of us, we can’t let the pandemic be an excuse for a regression in equality in the workplace.

If you also share our passion for this subject and want to hear some fresh conversations from marketing, sales and customer service experts on how to better understand customers and turn big data into actionable tactics, we’d love you to join us at CX Spotlight on 2 March.

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