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Each for Equal: why equality is still a hot topic in the workplace

06 Mar 2020

Kerry Phillip

Legal Director, Vodafone Business

I will wear purple on Sunday, to celebrate the achievements of women.

The first International Women’s Day was more than 100 years ago, and when you think about how much has changed in that time, it’s amazing to think that this is still such a hot topic!

The conversation has moved on, though.

International Women’s Day is now part of International Women’s Week.

There are so many inspiring events taking place and, although the focus is on gender equality, it is also about human rights for all; something reflected in this year’s theme - each for equal.

Each for equal

“The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

Gloria Steinem

Only by working together will we reach gender equality. And, as countless studies and research show, diversity will help all of us.

Take data analytics in business, for example. We know that people will approach problems differently based on their own experiences and, by having a broad mix of people, will likely come up with a much better solution.

In the technology sector, the workforce is made up of one woman for every three men*. This means there’s the potential for gender bias at almost every touchpoint – whether that’s access to jobs and careers, advertising, product design or the language of technology.

When asked to imagine technology as a person, most people described a young, white, middle-class male**.

So clearly, there's still a lot to do.

Change the face

That’s why, as a business, we’re striving to do more.

At our recent Industry Analyst Summit, our CEO Nick Read talked about Vodafone’s purpose. An important pillar of this is inclusion for all, with gender equality at the heart.

We have a company-wide ambition to be the world’s best employer for women by 2025 and to have women in 40% of our leadership and management roles by 2030. We won’t get there by chance, so we have an ecosystem of support globally to turn that ambition into reality.

For example, we know that returning to work after having children can be hard and since 2015, Vodafone maternity leave policy has set the standard worldwide.  It means that women coming back to work after maternity leave get full pay for working 80% of hours for six months.

And since January, anyone who works at Vodafone and becomes a parent – whether their partner gives birth, they adopt, or have a child through surrogacy – can take up to 16 weeks of paid leave to support their family.

Today, we launched a new campaign called Change the Face, which encourages companies and individuals across the globe to make a commitment to positive change.

Women in Business

I am proud to work for a company that is committed to diversity and inclusion, and I definitely want to be a part of shaping our future. Four years ago I co-founded Vodafone Women in Business – a global network for women to meet, learn and be supported at work.

Photo: one of our global webinars – Kerry Phillip - Legal Director Vodafone Business, Anne Sheehan - Director Vodafone Business UK & Angela Mensah-Poku, Commercial & Digital Operations Director – Vodafone Ghana

Vodafone Women in Business has more than 2000 members worldwide and is growing every day. We offer a supportive and trusting environment to meet, learn and share our passion for technology and business.  We welcome everyone who supports gender equality.

WASPS photo
Photo: From our IWW webinar, members of the WIB team with guest speakers Giselle Mather, Director of Rugby at WASPS, and Harriet Millar-Mills, WASPS and England Rugby player image credit: Alan Lu, Vodafone UK

We discuss the issues and topics that matter to us on chat shows, in videos and blog posts and at networking events.

Recently, we have talked about personal brand, owning your career, being bold, well-being, leadership and much more.

The wonderful team supporting Vodafone’s Women in Business is brimming with enthusiasm and ideas, and we are set for another great year. My pledge for #eachforequal is to keep Women in Business going and to keep it relevant.

Learn more about how you can join the #ChangeTheFace campaign.

*European Commission, 2018

**International survey commissioned by Vodafone across 8000 people

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