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Posted 10 Mar 2023

International Women’s Day 2023: #EmbraceEquity

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.

We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion. 

Collective activism is what drives change. From grassroots action to wide-scale momentum, we can all embrace equity. 

Forging gender equity isn’t limited to women solely fighting the good fight. Allies are incredibly important for the social, economic, cultural, and political advancement of women.

Here are some words from our Founder, Professor Nancy Doyle, on why the Senior Leadership Team at Genius Within embrace equity:

“Embracing Equity means that we have to do things differently for those who have been marginalised. When we provide equal opportunities, we fail to recognise the damage of living your life in a world that values how you look, not what you can do, which sends constant messaging that you are less than, different, should shoot for safe, not success. That damage means that some of us need more, to achieve the same.

At Genius Within, we have always done things differently! We have a number of policies and approaches to level the playing field, and nearly all our staff managers and leadership have at least one marginalising characteristic.

  1. We have a flexible hours policy. If you need to make space in your day for caring responsibilities and work unsociable hours, there is no penalty. In fact, the majority of our home-grown leaders do/did exactly this, including me.
  2. We have a good remote working policy, where we check in on work-life balance but essentially give colleagues a lot of leeway to work where we are most comfortable. This provides equity for those with caring responsibilities and disabled colleagues.
  3. We invest in our managers, to overcome the self-doubt and deference that is more typical in people who have been raised as female, and to build assertiveness. We actively teach feedback strategies, to ensure our leaders can hold their boundaries and voice concerns. 
  4. We have a no-blame whistleblowing policy for the same reason.
  5. We have formal procedures and strategies for dealing with relationships at work – the 8 Drama to Calmer strategies and the Business Etiquette policy – this leaves less room for self-consciousness and subtle undermining.
  6. We don’t send emails out of office hours and we use delayed send to ensure that family and quiet time is protected. 
  7. We have career progression and mentoring built into our HR processes, but there is no penalty for being quite content where you are! Judgement free.
  8. We have more part-time working opportunities than most businesses I’ve ever come across.
  9. Our associates are very often professional women with family commitments who wish to continue making a contribution according to their qualifications and expertise but aren’t in the space to commit to a permanent role.

I started GW because as a mother to twin boys, I needed work that could fit into the school day and I was fed up with the poor deal that ND people were getting from unregulated practice by amateurs and medical model-informed professionals. I needed to serve the close coaching clients and subcontract the further away clients. We started with 7 subcontractors, including 4 that have gone on to start their own neurodiversity /coaching businesses and the rest are still with us!

I would like to prove that equity = profitability and that women-led businesses do not have to compromise success in order to achieve ethics and quality. I’d like Genius Within to continue to hold its strong values AND for us to grow and succeed. In order to do that, I need all our previously disenfranchised leaders to shake off our fears of getting things wrong, our fears of sticking to our guns, our fears of vocalising our dreams and ambitions and to collectively smash it. Whilst giving back to our communities. Equity is a fundamental tenet of how businesses should run, for the better of all stakeholders”.