Earlier this month, luxury car brand Audi stood up against gender inequality in its latest ad campaign championing diversity.
It’s 60-second entry into the annual Super Bowl ad fest took a different turn, bucking the usual humorous trend that often dominates what has become one of the world’s most watched stages.
Instead, the German carmaker decided to get serious about the issue of gender equality, showcasing a young girl and her father, culminating in the poignant message ‘progress is for everyone’.
In the ad, a father watches his daughter in a downhill cart race and thinks about whether she is being judged based on her gender. The core message of the advert questioning whether she will be paid less than a man, despite her talents.
It goes without saying that in today’s society we should be blind to gender, and people’s merit should not be predetermined on whether they are male or female.
People should be judged on what they bring to the table. It is worrying that women are still coming up against obstacles in the workplace, and I commend organisations like Audi that are stepping up, recognising the issue, and pushing for change.
Today, ensuring that women are equally represented in the workplace is much more than a vital social goal. Forward-thinking companies understand that building diverse teams of employees within their ranks at every level is critical to their organisational and operational success.
When women do better, economies do better
As a business owner myself, I have witnessed first-hand the benefits a diverse workforce can bring and at Sellick Partnership we ensure women and men have equal opportunities to succeed.
We are proud that half of our senior roles are currently held by women, heading up three of our regional offices and currently making up 50 percent of our board of directors, a feat rarely seen across the UK business community.
Business leaders need to recognise the commercial and societal benefits of a more gender diverse workforce and need to prioritise actions that will improve gender diversity, not just for their own advantage but for the benefit of their community and country going forward.
Social media giant Facebook recently announced a partnership with Enterprise Nation – a network of small businesses – who are set to deliver training to 10,000 women business owners across the country.
The partnership marks the latest step in Facebook’s ongoing commitment to support women business owners in the UK, as part of its wider #SheMeansBusiness initiative launched in May last year which delivers the message “When women do better, economies do better”.
The initiative is set up to celebrate women who have built and run businesses, and delivers resources to help those who might one day do so themselves. It is initiatives like this that are needed to ensure we continue to narrow the gender divide here in the UK, and it is down to businesses to ensure that steps are being taken.
What can big and small businesses learn from one another in the quest to create a diversified workforce that adds to their bottom line?
Additionally, the implementation of gender diversity policies and government legislation are also needed to continue positioning gender diversity as a front of mind necessity for businesses.
It is therefore essential that Theresa May and her new government keep this in mind when negotiating our exit from the EU, and ensure workers’ rights remain intact as we take control of our own laws and regulations.
So whilst it is encouraging to see a shift in the right direction when it comes to gender equality there is still a huge amount of work to do and we have an opportunity here in the UK to help spearhead change.
Be it through entrepreneurship education, creating female role models or by offering incentives, training and support, I believe UK business owners have a real opportunity to inspire more women to achieve their goals, and help close the gender gap for good.
About the author
Jo Sellick is the managing director of recruitment specialist, Sellick Partnership.