On March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. It’s an appropriate time for a societal check: How well are we doing at achieving gender equality and where is your business up to, but also think how good we are at letting women have a voice and encouraging them to demonstrate their abilities.
The Numbers – Global
When it comes to career growth, women in the workplace still face more challenges than their male colleagues. Studies show that less than 1/3 of senior roles globally are women. And, according to the World Economic Forum, a woman’s pay is 63% of what men earn. Then there’s the matter of self-promotion. On average, men apply for a job or promotion when they meet 60% of the qualifications, but women only apply if they meet 100% of them. But, more recent research shows that if a woman exhibits too much confidence, she’ll face a backlash effect.
Our focus for international Women’s day looks at the inspirational Anna Vainer at Google in London and her quest to help women promote their skills with confidence. Then we wanted to look how we can help overcome these feelings for those in business in Lancashire.
Thinking Big – Encourage Being Remarkable
In almost every culture, kids — but especially girls — learn that it’s not polite to talk about one’s achievements. In Japan, for example, the expression “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down” teaches children not to draw attention to themselves. Thousands of miles away in the U.K., kids learn that “the whale that spouts gets harpooned.” That’s why Anna Vainer, a marketer in London’s Google office, decided to launch #IamRemarkable with a former colleague, Anna Zapesochini. Last year, Vainer explained how she turned her side project into a global movement.
After noticing at Google workshops, the reluctance of people to shout about their own achievements Anna decided to take action.
I chatted about these feelings with my former colleague and good friend, Anna Zapesochini. Why was it that so many gifted women found it hard to talk openly about their accomplishments? Eager to learn more, we did some research. We discovered a vast body of literature proving what we intuitively knew: women and other under-represented groups often struggle with self-promotion and are conditioned from a young age not to speak openly about their achievements.
We wanted to do something about this, so in 2016 Anna and I created a movement that would raise awareness of everything we’d learned and help participants feel more comfortable when it came to self-promotion. We called it #IamRemarkable.
While it was originally only offered to Google employees soon, we had requests from customers, agencies, universities, and all sorts of other places. Today, #IamRemarkable is a 90-minute workshop open to everyone, and the feedback we’ve received has been phenomenal. You can read some of our success stories to find out more about how the workshop has helped the people who have participated in it.
As of December 2019, the initiative reached 85,000 participants from 99+ countries with over 4,000 trained facilitators delivering the workshop worldwide.
Being More Remarkable in your Business
If you have ever been in a situation where you feel embarrassed to talk about what you have done, how much you have achieved and what you are good at this will resonate. Statistics show men are better at this than women, but it still affects so many people.
And we are the same in public, in meetings at interviews etc. as we are online, we don’t want to brag or show off. This stops us sharing, blogging, writing and talking about ourselves. On social media only a very small percentage of active users actually ever post anything. We hold back from showing our true skills.
We are afraid of getting things wrong, looking silly are someone disagreeing. In our digital marketing skills workshops, we ask how many people write a blog and the resounding answer is” Oh no, who would take interest in me”! Not a good attitude when you are trying to promote yourself in business. To help business owners overcome this we have developed a course to encourage people to talk about what they do. Give them a chance to share their skills and blatantly promote how good they are at what they do. In the process this may mean you need to discover what you are good at and what you are confident in writing about.
We are always looking at new ways to share promote and grow businesses and help within our communities in Lancashire. Get in touch if you need help starting or growing a new business.