Put parity on the recovery agenda

More than a generation: it is the time lost because of the crisis in the struggle to achieve equality between men and women in the world. “The pandemic has had fundamental repercussions on equality between women and men, both in the workplace and at home, setting back years of progress,” said Saadia Zahidi, member of the executive committee of the Economic Forum worldwide, who published this calculation in May 2021. Businesses have a key role to play in putting parity at the heart of the recovery.

The health crisis has affected the work of women more than that of men. “Women are more numerous in sectors which have been more affected by job losses, such as hotels, restaurants, retail trade and culture”, notes Louise Champoux-Paillé, lecturer at the Department of strategy, social and environmental responsibility of ESGUQAM. Overrepresented in care-related professions, women have also been exposed to significant work overload and professional burnout, according to the governance expert.

Unfortunately, the available data also gives cause for concern about the recovery. Louise Champoux-Paillé fears that she will lose the gains obtained over the past decades, because many women have left their jobs or have chosen to work in a more flexible way. And for good reason: during the confinement of the first wave, the number of hours devoted to children increased by 27 per week for mothers and 13 for fathers, according to a government document obtained by Radio-Canada in March 2021. ” In the past year, 12 times more mothers than fathers left their jobs to care for young and school-aged children ”, one can read in one article published by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) last March.

Promote return to work

To avoid backtracking in their organizational charts, companies have the means to act. “They must clearly show that they are aware of the differentiated situation of women compared to men and that they are ready to welcome them and to develop new work standards”, says Louise Champoux-Paillé, who notes higher demand for remote work among women. “The statistics lead us to the conclusion that men will choose more face-to-face days than women”, indicates the lecturer, who calls for a review of the organization of tasks. “Some works [de recherche, par exemple] that require more thought may be more appropriate for the home. Companies need to think about what activities they are going to prioritize during the two or three days spent in the office, ”she says.

The growing importance ofartificial intelligence and new technologies – sectors where women are still under-represented – present an additional challenge for them. “Those who wish to return to their position or resume full-time will face major changes, because their jobs will have been transformed,” says Louise Champoux-Paillé, who urges companies to invest in inclusive training and redeployment programs. of their workforce.

Review recruitment and evaluation

According to a survey conducted by resume writing organization ResumeGo, applicants with gaps in their work experience are 45% less likely to be invited to interviews. Louise Champoux-Paillé calls on companies to show empathy and encourages women who left their jobs during the crisis not to try to hide it, but to explain it in their application and to highlight the training that may have been taken during the crisis. this period.

The path will remain locked, however, if companies do not adjust their hiring process. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, if among the candidates there is only one woman, there is statistically no chance that this one will be recruited. “If we want to recruit women, especially in the highest positions, we have to collect figures and set targets for each job category,” says Mr.me Champoux-Paillé, which invites recruiters to judge women according to their potential, and not only on their achievements.

“Productivity must be considered differently, by integrating well-being at work, and performance must not be based on criteria linked to the presence in the office”, recommends the expert in governance, who underlines the value of the progress made over the past decades. “The representation of women in business has enabled us to improve as a society. We absolutely have to go find these women. Maybe not all of them want to work, but those who have a passion for their work and want to re-enter the labor market need to be helped by active policies from governments and companies that encourage their return. “

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