1. Is the lack of female empowerment an equality issue or an equity issue?
From what I have seen in my career to date, it’s an equity issue, especially once women are at a senior level. We are in the minority yet it’s the legacy of an equality issue that creates the equity issue.
Thankfully, there are some great leaders today, both male and female, who have broken the mould and who strive to bring balance to their organisations and create diverse teams to deliver their results.
I am hopeful that it is just a matter of time before those people with a more traditional and patriarchal way of thinking have retired and fresh, open-minded leaders take their places. These will be leaders that grew up in a digital age, global thinkers from diverse backgrounds without the gender bias of old. These will be people who are recruited for what they bring to the table, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, appearance, or culture.
However, I think there are already pockets of this balance in some industry sectors; it's just taking time for the others to catch up. This I believe was partly due to the career advice of old that limited women’s choices and crushed their self-belief.
Over the last 20 years, schools, technology centres and universities in the UK have been doing a great job and encouraging women to broaden their horizons and choose careers that traditionally were off-limits to all but the brave few. Parents have also played their part in creating this next generation of strong people who have self-belief and a can-do attitude. Praise should also go to our sportswomen who are making our nation proud and proving that drive, determination and a desire to be their best doesn’t only come from our sportsmen.
I do think the issue of equity will finally disappear because of all the hard work of these visionaries over the years.
2. Gender Equity Vs. Gender Equality: What’s the Distinction?
Gender equity is having an equal number of women in senior positions as men, whereas gender equality is when the remuneration for the job done is the same regardless of gender, and their voices/opinions carry equal weight.
3. How do we go about breaking down barriers that can hold women back?
Organisations like the Mentoring Circle (of which I am a mentor) support women to reach their full potential within the Real Estate and Construction sector.
Change doesn’t happen by hoping and wishing for things, it happens through action, support and encouragement on a one-on-one basis. The more we can all support each other, regardless of gender or sexual preference the better, making it all about the person and what they can contribute to our industry and society.
4. Is gender equality a concern for men?
My only concern, from studying human behaviour during my career, is that when there has been an imbalance, there is a tendency to overcompensate and go to the other end of the scale before balance is achieved.