Claire Quansah, Operations Director, discusses votes, pay and equal rights - a Havas PR perspective
Earlier this month we celebrated 100 years since women first got the right to vote, a major milestone in the journey to equal rights. As an alumnus of the school where the Pankhurst sisters were educated, the importance of women’s rights has always been part of my DNA.
Yet within just a few weeks of celebrating a huge breakthrough, we’ve seen various stories about the ‘motherhood penalty’ in potential earnings and the archaic attitudes of a number of employers towards women who happen to be mothers. Along with the embarrassing gender pay gap, I can’t help but wonder what Ms Pankhurst and her fellow Suffragettes would think of it all. Were their efforts in vain??
It just shows that there’s still work to be done to achieve true gender equality in the workplace. Whilst things like gender pay gap reporting, shared parental leave and female representation targets will no doubt make some difference, the biggest thing we can do is change people’s attitudes. The UK needs to embrace a culture that treats everyone equally whilst respecting their different life stages and circumstances.
Thankfully at Havas PR, we are already doing just that. If there’s an assembly to attend or poorly child to nurse, that’s fine. If you need to work from home to block out the dodgy tunes on our Spotify play list, no worries. We socialise during mornings (free breakfasts) and afternoons (birthday treats) so anyone desperate to catch the latest edition of Paw Patrol can do just that without feeling like they are missing out on any evening socials.
You see, as long as you get the work done and communicate with your team, we are happy. And that works for mothers and fathers, so nobody can duck out of their responsibilities ;)
All of our roles are advertised as flexible and with our talent-first approach to hiring we make sure we have the best people on board to meet our clients’ needs and support them to find a work-life blend that fits.
And this philosophy works. A third of our senior management team is female, they also happen to be mothers. Parenthood hasn’t stopped their career progression and neither should it for anyone else. In fact, parent or not, our family attitude is what keeps people here.
Before you tell me, every employer describes themselves as family-friendly, believe me we are. Just ask my sons, Havas’s biggest fans – it’s probably the invites to social events that helps…