No country can truly develop if it locks out half its population. - Justine Greening.

Many cultural forces continue to stand in the way of female inclusion in organisations. From gender bias to the impact of motherhood on career progression - the gender gap in business persists. For organisations to survive and thrive in a global and diverse economy, it is essential to attain a competitive advantage by hiring and retaining the best people for the job. The question is, how do we celebrate women's achievements whilst promoting a more inclusive work culture?

A woman's worth

There is a lot of exceptional talent that is being neglected by society’s expectations of what a business culture should look like. These expectations are expensive for the company and harmful to the employee. A business that is not inclusive is a business that is not innovating. When much of the organisation fears they cannot be their true self, they do not reach their true potential. This means organisations fail to create the best products and services, which ultimately impacts their bottom line.

One of the most important reasons companies should be integrating women into more senior positions is based on the unique perspective they bring to the workplace. When more women have a seat at the head of the table, they do more than increase the talent pool at the top of the organisation — they send a sign that developing women as leaders is fundamental to the organisation's success. Getting more women in executive positions is self-perpetuating. When women see others achieve excellence, they become role models for change and those females in their footsteps envision themselves achieving the same.

Leading the way to success

The demand for talent is rising and developing people is a top priority for leadership, who sets and maintains the standards for the quality of employee performance and company culture. In order for organisations to succeed in leveraging inclusion in the workplace, leaders need to ask an essential question: “where is the diversity in this conversation?” In today’s collaborative and autonomous work atmosphere, our perceptions of what makes a leader great are based on obsolete stereotypes. Therefore, organisations are required to be smart about engaging differently with their teams to promote a workplace where gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping is challenged, diversity embraced and inclusion - guaranteed.

Change starts with us

The case for the empowerment of women goes beyond the need for greater gender equality. It is about leveraging the talent, creativity, emotional intelligence and capabilities that women possess in order to build a better and brighter future for everyone - men and women alike. In order to commit to growing and competing in today’s dynamic marketplace, organisations must accept and nurture the diverse experiences and perspectives of every employee. This requires leadership to become stronger catalysts for change and inclusion across the entire organisation.

How are you promoting a culture of inclusion to empower women in the workplace?