The inaugural International Parity at Work Day was celebrated around the world on the 11th January 2017. Organisations and communities in Australia, Japan, Sri Lanka, UK and USA marked the day in their own unique way.
The Australian Services Union observed the day as a part of its drive to eliminate inequality in the workplace.
In Japan, a group of senior doctors started a cause to break the ‘unofficial’ 30% limit placed on female students entering medical school. Their seminar and discussion focused on how to increase young women’s confidence to apply to medical school, and how to lobby universities to give up their belief that women doctors will leave careers early to have families and so should not receive as much opportunity to study medicine.
The event in Sri Lanka, compered by senior MTV news anchor Mahina Bongso, addressed the need for Parity at work for young and old, the differently abled, people from different cultures, men and women. CEOs and leaders from Jetwing Travels and Nielsen, as well as a past President of the country graced the occasion to share their views and experiences of maximising the value and strength of diverse communities to deliver effectiveness and growth. Stories were heard of how Shaheen Cader caused a transformation that increased women in the Neilsen field force from 0% to 20% – overcoming the many cultural barriers to women working away from home; how Nuski Mohamed is working to increase world cricket opportunities for differently abled people in terms of physical mobility and vision and how Shiromal Cooray has extended the gender-equal environment created by her father for her brother and her into a parity based culture at Jetwing Travels.
Aon UK hosted London’s inaugural event with inspirational conversations such as how Harry Specters Chocolates has enabled employment for autistic people that leverages their talent for attention to detail; how the Davies Review and Hampton Alexander Review are changing the landscape for women at work; and how the conversations now need to get more granular if they are really going to have an impact. Performances by talented artists demonstrated the contribution of young and old – black and white, with a multicultural cast of performers, including the in house Director of Dreamgirls. The event was attended by leading lights in the drive for parity at work, including Heather Melville of RBS, Denise Wilson OBE and Baroness Lorely Burt of Solihull.
In America, a global investment bank held a panel session led by their Executive Directors to discuss how they understand ‘parity at work’, the key metrics they will use to indicate the current state and quick wins that their managers could implement to promote parity.
Commenting on the day’s events, Ishreen Bradley, founder of The Parity Pioneers Movement created by Bizas, a WEConnect International certified women-owned business, said:
“I am delighted that this inaugural day has generated so much interest around the world. Our intention is for a world in which all people are able to contribute their best talents at work and experience being justly recognised and rewarded. International Parity at Work Day takes a positive approach to achieving this goal, and I hope even more countries will join in the celebrations next year.”
People left the events feeling energised and invigorated and are looking forward to taking new insights into their organisations. The commercial director at a leading global pharmaceutical company said:
“Thank you so much for a very inspiring evening! I loved the program and the diversity of people I could get in touch with. There is so much we can do – and we should start right now.”
From books, blogs and online communities to webinars, keynotes and face-to-face interventions, resources provided by The Parity Pioneers Movement are designed to supplement interventions for parity at work and support individuals and organisations achieve world-leading performance by maximising the value and strength contributed by people who are different from each other.