15. 09. 2017 Corporate responsibility

Man as Breadwinner and Woman House-keeper? Stereotypes are Harmful to Business

Current recommendations of the BLF advise companies how to enhance women’s career development.

Women account for half of the world’s population. However, it will take more than 80 years until gender equality in education, health, economics and politics is reached on a global scale. At the same time, gender equality knows no “however”. From a social and economic point of view, we can only speak about benefits that are not limited to girls and women.

Promoting women’s employment and career development is beneficial for a company, particularly from the point of view of human capital and the selection of the best talents. By increasing the participation of women in the work process in sectors traditionally considered as for male, the productivity would increase from 3% to 25% in several countries. Results of research also confirmed that a higher proportion of women in senior management, as well as diversity in work teams bring higher profits to companies.

In its current recommendations, Women in Business, the Business Leaders Forum deals with the areas in which companies can provide support to its women employees in their professional career and development.

Download the recommendations:

Flexibility at work is crucial for working mothers

Child care facilities are expensive or difficult to access. Moreover, lot of parents do not wish their children to be entrusted to institutions at an early age. If there is a possibility to work part-time, combined with home office at a time that suits the needs of a young family (for example in the evening when a partner comes from a work and takes care of a child), it is a truly effective employer’s approach  in the spirit of work-life balance.

Nevertheless, a part-time job should be only a temporary form of work for women who are coming back to work after the maternity or parental leave. If this was a final solution, it would have a negative impact on the economic independence of women given by the amount of salary and consequently also the amount of their pension.

Thanks to the conditions it creates for its employees, the company T-Systems Slovakia won the competition The Best Employer in 2016 in the category of IT and telecommunications, which was organised by the Profesia.sk portal. The company actively offers its employees flexible working hours and part-time jobs. Men and women who have children at the age lower than 12 years as well as pregnant women have a possibility to work from home for 7 days a month. For the same target group, the benefit to leave work sooner on the last working day before the Easter and Christmas (after agreement with their superior) also applies. Fathers are provided a day off at the birth of their child.

Do you have a problem finding a place in a kindergarten? Your employer can help you

A kindergarten directly in a company or reserved places in a facility located near the headquarters of the company can make life easier for working mothers and fathers. There is a possibility of a financial contribution for a private facility of the parent’s choice or cooperation with a network of kindergartens in which the company agrees on a discount for the children of its employees. Significant logistical support is also for example when the company provides picking up children from parents after their arrival to work and then takes them to the selected child care facility.

The Topvar Breweries support their employees in their effort to return from parental leave back to work even before their child reaches the age when they can be admitted to a state kindergarten. In addition to flexible working hours, part-time jobs or home-office, they also provide a monthly contribution in the amount of 250 Euro to ensure adequate childcare.

Women more at work = men more at home

The Business Leaders Forum recognizes a chance for activities of a responsible company also in education and mentoring of its employees, respecting individual approach or supporting solutions and initiatives coming the employees themselves. In its recommendations, it also lays considerable emphasis on overcominggender stereotypes that have been influencing our life since very early age.

The theme of women in business concerns both women and men. Support for women’s education and careerdevelopment goes hand in hand with greater involvement of men in family life and with more equitable division of tasks related to childcare and household between both partners.

Companies as the main advertisers can significantly help to avoid stereotypical images (eg. always a woman who is doing housework, never a man) and thus stop contributing to inequality between men and women. Another option for a company to contribute to positive social change is financial or expert support for educational programmes in areas traditionally perceived as male. Because of many prejudices (“this is not a work suitable for girls”), we are losing many talents who were not given a chance to fully develop.

A typical example is the IT sector. In Slovakia, the Aj Ty v IT (You too in IT) project has been receiving support by the companies such as IBM, DELL, Slovak Telekom, Datalan or AT &T for several years. During the whole year, “Aj Ty v IT” cooperates with high school students, organizes professional workshops for them and discussions with women who have become successful in this field. University students enhance their IT skills and the company conveys the message that IT is a great choice for girls.

These Recommendations have been developed under the initiative of the Diversity Charter Slovakia. Join the charter together with your company and publicly declare support for diversity and inclusion in the workplace: www.chartadiverzity.sk

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