“Job and family”
On this day of the women’s strike in Switzerland, I observe, powerless, the latest figures on the inequalities in treatment between men and women in professional representation, wages, unpaid work, pensions, and ultimately, work-family balance.
It has become too obvious that governmental involvement in impacting such systemic inequalities is bound to progress at the slow and sometimes futile pace of the legislative apparatus.
Work is an essential part of our identity. It provides a sense of value and competence that contributes to the well-being of society. So, how can we proceed? How can we offer significant and tangible improvements? I look in the direction of businesses. They have considerable responsibility in driving change and progress for women and for society. They have a duty to act as pioneers and break a system that, at best, ignores discrimination and, at worst, reinforces an unequal and age-old status quo.
We often hear employers claim, “Our company is like a big family.” Thus, on this day of the women’s strike in 2023 (!), I hope that companies decide — without waiting for the injunction of the state or a regulatory body — to proactively and pragmatically act on a comprehensive family policy to promote equality between women and men and collective prosperity.
If companies are unsure where to start, here are some ideas:
- Acknowledge and address wage disparities.
- Examine recruitment, training, evaluation, and promotion systems to break the glass ceiling.
- Offer flexible parental leave that allows women and men to balance their family responsibilities and careers.
- Implement mentoring and professional development programs specifically designed for women to help them advance in their careers.
- Provide flexibility, where possible, to contribute to work-life balance for both genders (flexible working hours, remote work opportunities, schedule adjustments).
- Encourage men to work part-time and offer job-sharing positions at all levels of the company.
These efforts will equalize parental presence within the family and represent a significant advancement for women in leadership positions. They will contribute to implementing a more egalitarian paradigm in the workplace and beyond.
Because companies have the power to reshape social norms and transform inequalities into opportunities. By actively committing to creating inclusive corporate cultures, they can become pillars of social justice.
It is time for companies to fully embrace their responsibility and play a key role in building a world where equality, respect, and consideration for others, regardless of gender, are the fundamental principles of “family,” business, and society.