In our modern, moving, technology-driven and totally connected business world, the idea of gender imbalance in the workplace seems prehistoric.

Unfortunately, issues like career progression for women, parental leave and returning to work are still very much alive.

We have long championed flexible working. We support and strengthen our working parents’ career paths. We work hard to make sure that work-life balance is sustainable and practical – and that it’s not a choice of one or the other for our team members.

In essence, we’ve got lots to say on the subject of gender in the workplace, and so have lots of other brilliant people. Today we’re sharing 3 fantastic articles that give real food for thought about some of the issues affecting men and women in work. We’re also sharing one of our own 🙂

The words we use matter

Elin Cherry writes for Forbes about the changes businesses need to make to be both family and business friendly.

‘…words such as “women’s issues” or “diversity inclusion” serve to exclude men from participating in the dialogue. If we begin addressing these issues as “family matters” it will encourage men to become involved in the conversation, and buy-in for change will be easier.

With equal focus on the needs of working parents and the need for commercially viable solutions, Elin puts forward 5 changes that businesses need to make to address issues of gender in the workplace.

Read it now: 5 Workplace changes we need right now

Why boys need ‘The Talk’ too

The parent of a son, Gaby Hinsliff urges parents to talk to their sons about work-life balance.

‘While girls are bombarded from their teens onwards with warnings that they must prepare for choices ahead – virtually every interview they’ll ever read with a woman will include the obligatory “I don’t know how you do it” question – it’s all too easy for boys to grow up having barely thought about this until it’s too late.’

This is an emotive yet pragmatic read, advocating the need for education, attitude and understanding through open conversations with our sons and daughters.

Read it now: Boys need to learn about juggling work and family too

An issue for everyone

At the Top Employer Awards 2015, we sat in on a lively debate about gender in the workplace and how issues for working parents seem to only apply to women.

‘There’s an attitude that it’s our job to exhaust our negotiation skills to wrangle a model of working that accommodates our caring responsibilities. It’s up to us to stand tall against discrimination when we return from maternity leave, or to brush off the prejudicial attitudes that can hound a woman’s rise to the top. It’s our role to resist the lure of presenteeism and to challenge the misconceptions that part-time = part-effort.’

We explore why so-called ‘women’s issues’ need to become shared concerns, reflected in businesses from the top down.

Read it: Why are we still talking about ‘women’s issues’ in the workplace?

Balancing the business world

In this interview with HR Review, Heather Jackson talks about her experiences, the current gender balance and her vision for the future.

‘I think the issue [of gender balance] has certainly been raised with leaders, but it needs to be raised with every leader and manager in the line. When it comes to execution and implementation, you only have to look at the audience of this conference, we have 120 companies with the intentions of creating a balanced business, but is there true diversity out there? No there isn’t.’

Direct, practical and passionate, Heather takes us through the realities of gender balance in business.

Read it now: Heather Jackson talks gender balance, diversity and parental leave

Find out more

Combining full-time work and family: Archana’s story

How do we define flexible working?

5 reads: The flexible workplace

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.