Gender geralisations aside, here are some key global trends for 2019 that support a more female view of the world.
The gig economy and remote work are here to stay
As many as 75 million Americans participate in the gig economy in some way. Whether the sole source of income or a supplementing side hustle, increasingly flexible work opportunities open up the work force to those women juggling responsibilities of a family or care-giving role. The emergence of a digital and decentralised marketplace also allows many to work from home or remotely, with over 43 percent of employees, according to a Gallup survey, working at least part of the time from home. Even traditional workplaces are loosening their strict 9-5pm work day with many companies adapting company policies to allow for remote work could help improve employee retention. This is great for both men and women to enable them to share responsibilities of raising a family, caring for elder family members, of simply having a better work-life balance.
Work-Life Balance is a myth
Speaking of work life balance, in 2019 we will move beyond the idea that we can actually segment and balance our professional and personal lives with any consistency. Hosea Chang,an angel investor, former lawyer, the COO of Hayden Los Angeles, an apparel company with brands for women and tweens, and mother of three kids, believes the “pursuit of work-life balance has been this generation’s version of the pursuit of the fountain of youth”. Espousing this as a myth, she advises to be as present as possible whether at home or at work, and to work onmicro and macro strategiesto support your own daily and weekly rhythm. Whether multi-tasking is a natural ability of many women, or a necessity as we juggle multiple roles in a single day, this can be a competitive edge that allows us to be more adaptable and resourceful as we move continuously between homelife and worklife.
Businesses will be kinder
In 2018 Blackrock CEO Larry Fink told executives that his firm would take social responsibility into account when allocating funds. That same month, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would tweak its algorithms to prioritize posts from friends and family — even though, he warned, doing so would result in users spending less time on the platform. Companies are now being held accountable by consumers to uphold values and standards. Corporate social responsibility is now expected – for people, for animals, and for the planet. Cut throat profits at the expense of others will not be tolerated as we seek a kinder, more benevolent corporate structure. It’s becoming increasingly popular for organizations to put “purpose at the heart of their strategy and operations.” More and more companies are opting to get certified as a B-corporation, a for-profit certification that verifies the company operates without harm to society or the planet. Over 2,500 businesses operating in over 50 different countries have secured B-corp certification. In this new economy companies can no longer make business decisions based on margin impact alone. Where consumers will align with companies based on their values, moral accountability will deliver value to those companies seen to be doing the right thing.
Gender Equality has become a business imperative
Companies are re-evaluating their gender equality policies and seeking out more female independent directors. Released just this month, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Gender Equity Insights 2019: Breaking through the Glass Ceilingreport finds women are progressing into full-time management roles at a faster rate than men. Women are still most under-represented in top-tier management positions, however, this category has seen the fastest growth rate, increasing by 4.4 percentage points in the last five years. These trends bode well for women and men as we move towards greater equity and greater success in the workplace, and reveal the positive impact of policy initiatives in improving the representation of women in the workforce and in narrowing the gender pay gap.