Diversity & Inclusion

How bold is bold enough, and safe enough?

#BeBoldForChange was the theme of International Women’s Day 2017. Drive reporter Rebecca Finley attended some of Enterprise’s IWD events to learn more about what being bold actually looks like in the workplace.

Today’s society is as determined as ever for women to rise within the workplace, yet gender parity still remains a problem. International Women’s Day, a day that’s celebrated globally, is dedicated to just that – moving towards a more gender inclusive and equal world.
On 8 March every year, people celebrate women’s achievements across the globe. This year’s theme was Be Bold for Change, and women and men worldwide were encouraged to take ‘bold, pragmatic action’ in accelerating gender parity.

The truth is, however, does ‘being bold’ work out well in the workplace? As a professional woman just starting out, the question becomes how bold is bold enough, and safe enough, when you’re beginning your career?

The reasons to be bold are clear. According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close completely for another 169 years.

Today, women make up 47% of the workforce in the UK and, according to the Women and Work Commission, their full potential could be worth £23 billion a year to the Exchequer.

Lean In’s case study Women in the Workplace 2016 revealed that women fall behind in the early stages of their career. It showed women are cut short when it comes to accessing opportunities that could lead them to career advancement while also being at a disadvantage in their daily interactions at work. The research revealed that women who negotiate salary increases or promotions are 30% more likely than men to come off as ‘too aggressive’ or ‘bossy.’

Enterprise has always strived to be a diverse and inclusive workplace. There have been many steps that have been taken to promote gender equality at Enterprise including Drive magazine, Lean In Circles and the Enterprising Women Network.

However, there is still work to be done, which is where the boldness comes in.

We can all agree that businesses run on talent, and that access to that talent is incredibly important. So why on earth would I want to recruit, develop and engage only half of the talent pool?

It starts with each individual doing and seeing things differently. Employees at Enterprise have the privilege to be bold and share our voice, whether that be through sharing our ideas and providing a different point of view or just speaking up about inclusivity at work.

Enterprise is committed to recruiting, retaining and developing the best female talent. Khaled Shahbo said at this year’s International Women’s Day event, “We can all agree that businesses run on talent, and that access to that talent is incredibly important. So why on earth would I want to recruit, develop and engage only half of the talent pool?”

As a company that mostly promotes from within, employees are encouraged to make bold decisions and put themselves out for promotion quickly. Enterprise actively wants its employees to stay, and gives employees a high degree of freedom in how they manage their branch operations from an early stage. There is lots of opportunity to be bold.

This is an unusual privilege and means employees can inspire change and accelerate gender parity.

So at Enterprise, #BeBoldForChange is not just for International Women’s Day, it’s for every day.

by Rebecca Finley

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