The International Women’s Day is around the corner, i.e. on March 8, 2020. That being a Sunday, most organisations have decided to celebrate it on the Mon, Mar 9. It’s usual for every HR team to make a plan and celebrate the day certain set of programs and competitions within the office. We do, too, at FullContact. This post is not to talk about what we do, but what one should do.
I have seen many messages by HRs asking for ‘what do you do for women’s day’; so that we can replicate questions. Well, sometimes discussions like these are about sharing ideas, but many a time, they end up being a means to do something on the Women’s Day as an engagement activity (oh boy, a term that has lost its charm!).
Let’s think for a moment. Why do we need to celebrate Women’s Day? Is there a problem that we are trying to address at our organisation? It could be an equality issue. It could be an inclusion concern. It could be a facilities concern that male employees have access to but not women for their gender. Do you have such an issue at the organisation that’s unfair to your women employees? That’s what you should discuss and target to resolve.
Usually, HR department takes care of conducting the engagement activity on the Women’s Day. Most organisations have an HRBP structure these days and why don’t we do it not on our shoulder but as a collaborative activity? First and foremost, stop planning the day with the help of male employees alone. They might be missing much of the context as to why we should ‘celebrate’ a day for women employees—why don’t you call in volunteers from among your women workforce to plan, better, a women’s day? They know their problems at the workplace!
What to do on a Women’s Day will vary from organisation to organisation. As I said earlier, your intention should be to celebrate the successes of women, being an inspiration to women in the organisation, AND to try and resolve concerns your women employees have in terms of equality and inclusion.
Events such as cooking competition, best saree wearing competition, etc. are, in my personal opinion, are regressive in nature. A patriarchal society like ours has celebrated such forcefully collocated chores and events to women. As progressive organisations, our intention should not to celebrate and promulgate such practises but to address the issues that are created by such implicit biases.
HRs, think about what you want to do at your organisations. I am sure you will find something better than a cooking competition!
Still, give me some ideas!
I’ll begin with a few from the list of events that our team discussed Women’s Day Week #SheIsUs at FullContact this time (fully planned and owned by our non-HR members):
An AMA session where any questions about inclusion, equality at the workplace is answered and acted upon.
Select documentaries on inspirational figures from among women leaders around the world.
Inspirational Women stories from among our own members.
As part of #FullContactThanks, a day dedicated to thinking about and acknowledging one woman in our members’ lives.
Inspirational women leaders having a conversational meeting with the whole of the office where we will try to address some implicit bias issues.
Sponsor a girl child program with equal contributions from the organisation and the members.
Motivation to go out and be outdoorsy to those who didn’t get a chance to do so—clubbed with #HealthyFullContact.