Driving Innovation And Growth Starts With A Powerful Culture Of Equality Motivated companies continuously work hard to create an inclusive environment for people of all genders.

By Farah Bousaleh

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Gender imbalance has always been remarkably prevalent in traditionally male-dominated industries. In the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), for instance, women represent only 28% of its workforce, and the sector is facing great challenges regarding diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Gender equality and diversity is a key focus area within ambitious companies' D&I strategies, which are committed to the empowerment of women. Such companies believe that gender equity benefits everyone, and as such, it should remain a top priority for their success. Daily and continuous efforts are vitally needed, reinforced by strong gender mainstreaming strategies and mindful leadership.

Related: The Role Of Gender Equality In Ensuring Economic Growth

Therefore, motivated companies continuously work hard to create an inclusive environment for people of all genders. coming from different economic and educational backgrounds, personality types, life experiences, age, religion, etc. They put the emphasis on a person's skills and abilities while remaining mindful of unconscious bias.

These companies and their leadership work on a driven culture of shared values to role model inclusion. A diverse workforce holds great powers that bring together all types of differences, with their unique takes on challenges along with their solutions. When people of different standpoints, backgrounds, and life experiences come together to solve a common problem, creativity and innovation blossom.

According to Getting to Equal 2019, a research report published by Accenture, the importance a culture of equality and diversity in the workplace was emphasized as a powerful contributor to innovation and growth. Thus, "the mindset for innovation is nearly five times higher for employees with a robust culture of equality, where everyone can advance and thrive, than in least-equal companies."

Driving innovation and growth thus starts with a powerful mindset and culture that reinforces equality.

Increasing the number of women in corporate leadership positions has been proven to significantly increase financial returns for companies as documented by leading organizations and research agencies. McKinsey & Company's 2018 study of 1,000 companies in 12 countries found that when it comes to gender diversity among executive leadership teams, corporations in the top 25% were more likely to outperform on profitability (21%) and value creation (27%).

Related: Six Ways To Deal With Challenges At Work

Companies can shape and define a series of initiatives dedicated to diversity and inclusion. These include but are not limited to:

- Ensuring that every member of the team's voice is heard
- Highlighting the achievements of the female workforce
- Empowering women to achieve more by creating opportunities
- Making access equal to both men and women for more visibility in higher levels of the organization and among its leadership

Additional essential and practical steps organizations can take to level the workplace for men and women consist of:

- Revamping of the recruitment standards and expanding the talent pool
- Managing the pay gap
- Integrating inclusive benefits and flexibility that are tailored to keep women in the workforce
- Creating mentoring and networking opportunities
- Leadership education and other such initiatives

Diversity has never been more important to attract and retain talents and demonstrating a company's ability to have a diverse workforce also makes for great business and ethical sense. D&I-driven cultures spark the design thinking approach of ambitious companies to unleash hidden potential, while also generating new opportunities for the teams and the company itself.

Related: Leading The Transition From Female Empowerment To Gender Inclusion

Wavy Line
Farah Bousaleh

Certified Professional - Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Farah Bousaleh is a fully-fledged HR generalist with a diversified experience across various aspects of progressive strategic and HR ops management. Besides being a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)- Certified Professional (CP), Bousaleh is always seeking new opportunities for knowledge and growth through hard work, educational achievements, and curiosity. 

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