When it comes to gender parity, women want more than just equal pay – they want equality in every way.
At Iris Singapore, our aim is to achieve, and even exceed parity at all levels, not just in our workforce or pay or position. We asked a panel of 100 of Singapore’s most successful women, across a diverse spectrum of industries, what this year’s International Women’s Day theme of ‘Better for Balance’ meant to them – and the results were enlightening.
We found that it was the unconscious biases that held us back – biases that men form and act on; and biases that women are not able to break free from.
The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company, and The Huffington Post call it the “office housework” – admin tasks that default to women, reinforce the gender biases and ultimately hold women back from advancing their careers.
Some of the Office Housework scenarios we found that defaulted to women were: Calling a cab
- Buying and cutting a birthday cake
- Offering to split the bill
- Carrying tissues on them
- Decorating the Xmas tree
- Dialling the con call
To grow awareness about these unconscious biases and challenge the preset ways of doing things, Iris set an action plan to not only eliminate these biases but also drive a behavioural change.
Our supportive male colleagues came forward to volunteer, and this International Women’s Day, instead of featuring women to celebrate women, the women at Iris decided to make our male colleagues the “models of support”. Their contributions are helping us achieve a gender-balanced workplace
Our supportive male colleagues came forward to volunteer, and this International Women’s Day, instead of featuring women to celebrate women, the women at Iris decided to make our male colleagues the “models of support”. Their contributions are helping us achieve a gender-balanced workplace.
We call this campaign “The Conscious Calendar”.
Over the next 13 months (March ’18 – March ’19) our 13 male “models of support” will feature as The Tissue Treasurer, The Concall Whisperer, The Cake Slinger, The Dongle Wrangler, The Tree Hugger, The H20 Hustler, etc.
Stated Vanessa Tan, Senior Creative of Conscious Calendar campaign: “International Women’s Day shines the spotlight on big, overarching issues like the gender pay gap and equal paid parental leave, but with our Conscious Calendar, we wanted to make people aware of the many ways day-to-day corporate life can be tilted against women, and the small, concrete actions our male colleagues can take to correct this imbalance. This is something we’re already seeing at Iris Singapore over the course of working on this project.”
Sorcha John, managing director of Iris Singapore, said: “Asking people to change their decades-old, culturally ingrained, and socially enforced stereotypes is no small task. The cultural effect of our collective behaviours is huge, and there is a very real opportunity to transform culture through the small and implicit everyday interactions we have.”
John added: “The Conscious Calendar is a small effort on our parts to remind the industry that change only comes when we’re awake to the guises of sexism and deliberate in our individual efforts to make full equality our reality.”
#BetterforBalance #TheConsciousCalendar #BenevolentSexism