Parity to Potential: Enabling Women at Work Through Learning - FocusU

Parity to Potential: Enabling Women at Work Through Learning

Enabling Women at Work
Women are powering progress in every field, yet there is an ongoing struggle for gender parity in the workplace. Statistically proven, women have great leadership potential, but the gender gap and long years of strategic suppression have caused an experience gap in work. That’s where a need for a structured Learning and Development program arises, guiding and supporting women throughout their careers. With a strategized learning system aimed to equip women with skillsets to perform and deliver at work, women would stand a great chance to lead and be represented without biases.

Challenges Women Face at Work

The UN Women report says less than 1% of women live in a country with high women’s empowerment and gender parity. Meaning, that most women don’t know what gender parity feels like. At work, this can feel like facing microaggression by peers and seniors and unconscious biases that disrupt your career growth and learning. A lack of mentorship and sponsorship opportunities for women sums up why there is little scope for women to hold top positions in companies. To further illustrate the problem, it is not the glass ceiling but the broken-rung barrier that is the major cause for holding back women’s opportunities at work. What does a broken rung mean for women? It means women are unable to attain entry-level managerial roles because of unconscious biases, cultural stereotypes, and more. Unconscious biases are generic perceptions people build with experience or age. For women at work, it’s bad news. Therefore, breaking these systemic barriers for better pay and representation at work requires teamwork.

A Bonus Learning Experience:

To understand more about how unconscious biases affect employees and businesses alike, enter the glimpse of a simulation by FocusU, where participants enter a virtual and navigate unconscious biases.
In 2024, we see senior-level women saying “enough is enough” and walking out. Why? They’re often juggling extra responsibilities for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) without any recognition. But it’s not just about fairness. This step back is a huge loss for companies, that need their talent, perspective, and leadership to thrive. This isn’t just a walkout, it’s a wake-up call. Companies need to create real opportunities and genuine parity for women. It’s not just about profit; it’s about building a future where everyone has a chance to shine.

The Win-Win Equation: Women Thrive, Organizations Flourish, but How?

An annual GDP of about $4.5 trillion in 2025 could be added to the economies of Asia Pacific by advancing women’s equality at work and boosting profits and sales for companies. Let this sink in. This win-win partnership has multiple benefits for both women and companies that encourage gender parity at work.

What Do Women Gain from Parity in the Workspace?

  • new skills and insights required for career advancement in your respective industries.
  • more confidence and self-belief to advocate for yourself since research shows that women back away from talking about their work issues with higher-ups.
  • An Expanded circle and opportunities to talk to mentors and professionals, which would make it easier for women to build networks and close the gaps.
  • Expertise in handling challenging work and navigating tough decisions for efficient outcomes.
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How Does Empowering Women at Work Benefit Organizations?

  • With more options for hiring, companies get access to a wider talent pool with diverse perspectives and experiences.
  • Diversity also leads to creativity, problem-solving abilities, and other leadership qualities many women offer to the workforce.
  • Since both genders would be exposed to equal work experience, opportunities, and knowledge, it would enhance employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity.
  • Promoting Inclusion, Parity, and Diversity in the workspace will enhance your organization’s brand reputation and attract top talent.
  • Business teams with an equal number of men and women perform better and boost sales for the company.

Is Learning the Key Enabler?

The global workforce is in constant flux, demanding agile and empowered employees. Yet, women often face barriers to accessing the opportunities and experiences needed to adapt. This creates a talent gap for companies and limits women’s potential. The solution? Tailored Learning and Development (L&D) programs focused on women’s unique needs. This is where FocusU steps in, empowering women to unlock their full potential through tailored learning solutions. Below are a few examples of crucial L&D programs for women at work:

1. Skills Development Programs

  • Master emerging technologies: Gain expertise in fields like AI, data science, and cybersecurity to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Sharpen leadership skills: Develop the confidence and communication skills needed to lead effectively and inspire others.
  • Boost interdisciplinary skills: Learn to collaborate across departments and disciplines, adding value beyond your specific role.

2. Mentorship and Sponsorship Programs

  • Masterclasses: Gain guidance and support from successful women who understand your challenges.
  • Access sponsorship opportunities: Get noticed and championed by senior leaders, unlocking career advancement possibilities.
  • Build a powerful network: Connect with peers and allies, creating a supportive community for shared success.

3. Learning Leadership Journeys

In 2023, more organizations are prioritizing women’s involvement in top roles. Engaging your women workforce in leadership training programs would help your company achieve a more inclusive perspective and variety in leadership skills. It is also crucial to train top-position employees, front-line managers, and women employees to highlight what matters as your organization’s leadership traits. Here are some ways in which you can benefit from a learning leadership journey:
  • Develop your leadership style: Discover your strengths and weaknesses, and refine your approach to inspire and motivate teams.
  • Tackle unconscious bias: Learn to identify and overcome hidden barriers that may hold you back.
  • Navigate company dynamics: Gain insights into organizational politics and strategies for effective influence.
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4. Flexible Learning Options

Providing women with flexible learning options like remote learning and online classes at their own pace allows a more diverse workforce to participate. For example, global Coursera enrollments for female learners increased from 38% to 43% between 2019 and 2023. As women are more constricted in a societal setup, providing them with flexible learning options at their own pace allows them to reconnect with learning platforms again. FocusU understands that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to learning. That’s why we offer a diverse range of flexible L&D solutions designed to fit your unique needs and preferences:
  • Master skills independently: Self-paced courses, DIY kits, & microlearning for on-demand mastery.
  • Connect with experts: Live masterclasses, virtual simulations, and instructor-led training (virtual & onsite).
  • Personalized & supported: Get a customized learning path and on-demand guidance.

Empowering Growth: Actionable Steps for Companies & Women

For Learning and Development programs to become truly fruitful for women at work, the process of seeking continuous feedback and adjusting the programs to the needs of your women workforce is critical. Below are a few ways for both company and employees to bridge hierarchical and societal gaps and ensure the growth curve at work goes upward for all. Read on to know how.

1. For Companies:

  • Conduct a needs assessment: Identifying the gap between missing skills and required skills will streamline the strategy for growth.
  • Promote Inclusivity: Offer diverse programs covering relevant topics (leadership, tech skills, communication) and cater to different learning styles.
  • Track and Celebrate: Monitor progress, recognize achievements, and adapt programs based on feedback.
  • Encourage a culture of continuous learning: To handle competition and ever-changing company dynamics, constant learning must be incorporated into daily workspace.

2. For Individuals:

  • Advocate for change: Champion diversity and inclusion within your company by mentoring junior colleagues and speaking out against bias.
  • Build Your Network: Connect with peers and mentors for guidance and support.
  • Set Goals & Track Progress: Define clear career goals and identify the skills needed to achieve them. Utilize L&D programs to bridge any skill gaps and track your progress by documenting learning outcomes and achievements.
  • Celebrate Your Achievements: To handle competition and ever-changing company dynamics, constant learning must be incorporated into daily workspace.

Conclusion: Unlocking Potential Through Learning

The journey from potential to parity for women in the workplace hinges on one crucial factor: learning. Learning and Development (L&D) programs aren’t just about skill acquisition; they’re powerful tools for empowering women to overcome barriers, unlock their full potential, and achieve equitable representation in leadership roles. The path to parity isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. But with every step we take towards investing in women’s L&D, we move closer to a future where potential transcends barriers, and equality reigns supreme.

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