When it comes to examples of how to promote female leadership I can’t think of a better example than The Digital Picnic. I mean this in the humblest of ways of course, but it’s one of the things I’m most proud of in calling TDP my workplace.
Having risen from strategist to senior strategist, then Head of Social and more recently Head of Strategy & Growth at TDP, I’m a living case study of the business’ deep commitment to promoting female leadership.
There are a number of factors integral to creating the environment that made it possible for me to reach my leadership potential. So if you’re hoping to create a similar dynamic in your workplace, keep reading for some info to add to your to-do list.
Generous parental leave policies
Before I came to TDP I agonised over how I’d possibly start a family and also reach my career aspirations.
The agencies I worked at previously led me to believe that women in the workplace chose one or the other. I didn’t even know that it was possible that I wouldn’t have to sacrifice one element of my life that was extremely important to me.
Seeing our CEO Cherie’s example of strong female leadership while building an amazing business (and also growing a wonderful family) impacted my view on what I thought was possible for myself.
This was incredibly motivating for me to realise I could be anything I wanted to professionally and also become a mum when the time was right. Add this to the very generous parental leave policy (that is also fair to the males in our workplace, because dads deserve time with their bubs too!) and maternity leave no longer felt like the death toll for my career that I once thought it was.
Integrating the option for contact hours in the policy was also a game-changer for myself and other members of the TDP leadership team as we were able to keep our finger on the business pulse behind the scenes, meaning that when it came time to return to work we were able to jump back into the fold at speed.
These great policies are what continues to attract strong female candidates to TDP and creates the opportunity to promote even more female leadership in the business.
Flexible hours for families
Another way to promote female leadership in your business is to acknowledge that women in your workplace may require additional flexibility to effectively manage their home and work life balance.
When you give a little, you often receive a lot in turn with motivation, loyalty and productivity, making the investment you make in the individual a smart business decision that’ll pay off big time.
To bring it back to my personal example again, I’m incredibly lucky to have been able to take on a part time leadership role on coming back from maternity leave. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and it ensures I always show up to work as my very best self.
Of course it had to make business sense to do so but I have been offered every support possible from the rest of the leadership team to make this happen and it means when I’m working I’m fully committed to the business and my role here and able to achieve more than if I took on a working arrangement that was unsustainable to me.
Coming back after 6-months was really important to me as I was keen to continue working towards the business goals that were driving me before I went on leave but I was really worried about how to manage some of the practicalities of being a new mum in the workplace.
Concessions like allowing me to take time off to feed my little rascal during work-from-home days and pump during internal meetings meant that I was able to get back into the workplace before I may have been able to do so in less supportive environments.
Champion women in the workplace (and that extends to pay)
While we may function in a female-dominated industry, TDP’s commitment to pay fairly and appropriately for every member of the team creates a level of equality that allows female leadership to flourish.
Above and beyond this is another policy that makes TDP an incredibly desirable workplace for women. Our superannuation contributions to try and tackle the gender pay gap and the impact this has longterm on women’s superannuation funds.
Its policies like these that go beyond just the individual promotions to leadership that some of us may achieve. This addresses longstanding biases in the workplace that have impacted the financial stability and success of females longterm.
By addressing these injustices, TDP positions itself as a safe, inclusive and attractive workplace for women and that in turn ensures that brings in incredibly attractive candidates when we advertise.
Coupled with our parental leave policies and humanistic approach to women in the workplace, it also empowers every single one of us in the team to feel empowered by the fact that we’re all promoting female leadership, not only in the confines of this workplace but in general. If supporting a female-founded and led business aligns with your values, you can check out what we do here.
Make it intersectional, always
Of course, to really safeguard and promote female leadership, we need to keep intersectionality at the forefront of our minds. There are so many systems of inequality that need to be considered and addressed, and as a white cisgender woman, I have privilege that needs to be checked and acknowledged. I know that any workplace that’s serious about supporting all women and non-binary folk will seek to understand what’s important to each individual. For me, that’s parental leave, equal pay and flexible hours – but at TDP, we’ll always seek to understand what it looks like for every women and all non-binary folk.
As well we should.
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