Do businesses really want diversity in their workforce environment – or is the concept simply becoming a modern marketing tool?

This is the question we keep on asking ourselves here at Femme Works.

In the last couple of months we have spoken to multiple organisations (HR managers, Talent Acquisition, Business development managers, etc) many of whom have stated that it is time for serious change within their respective organizations. Gender diversity has become a key part of their higher management agenda and is universally accepted to be an important area for improvement.

Actions have to be shown to be taken, (diversity) charts need to be signed and of course we mustn’t forget the all-important shout out on LinkedIn indicating that a company is focussed on creating a gender diverse workforce.
Put simply, when talking to people in these organizations they all agree that a shift has to be made and that this would be an positive step forward.

However, when asked how willing an organization is to take actual tangible steps towards achieving this goal the outcome becomes quite different. Everybody has great intentions, but few people really think that making this kind of change is possible.
The management team is too male dominated and has no real interest in pursuing change….or the organization is not yet ready to place females in key positions….or qualified females cannot be located during the hiring process…we have heard all of these arguments and more.

When eventually asked the direct question, “is diversity something you really want to achieve or has this simply become ‘window-dressing’ for your company?” the majority of organisations will reluctantly agree to the latter. Gender diversity, while universally understood to be positive, is difficult to achieve and its pursuit can simply degrade into more of a marketing exercise than an actual deliverable.

Whilst we at Femme Works absolutely agree that it is difficult to create a more diverse environment, we know that if these organisations take the right first steps they can immediately start to attract and retain valuable female talent….because yes, these candidates do exist and they love to make a positive impact!

Femme Works exists to make workplace gender diversity easier to achieve. We will play our role in educating and supporting organisations to ensure that this important area of organisational growth is no longer reduced to a mere marketing tool but is understood to be an achievable and valuable area for investment. We would challenge all organisations to make real efforts to overcome barriers to diversity, and to reach out to us so that we can help and support.