As we look ahead to the next round of gender pay gap reports, we can expect to see a rush of promises about diversity initiatives which agencies hope will reduce their gender pay gap. Without exception, those initiatives are well intended and very often well thought through (taking on board the suggestions of internal diversity groups). At the top of those promises is likely to be a commitment to better embrace flexibility in working arrangements.
But meaningful change needs more than initiatives. It is only through celebrating the achievements of those who work flexibly that the sector will challenge the assumption that in certain (usually client facing) roles or when you reach a particular level of seniority, flexibility stops being workable. In other words, progression opportunities become limited to those who are able, or willing, to work full-time (and so the pool of talented women is automatically reduced).
Against this background, it is really encouraging to see Campaign again so publicly championing the success of the "Power part-timers". It is also encouraging to see Campaign promoting a "call to arms", inviting everyone to call out outdated behaviour when it comes to flexible working. The #MeToo campaign demonstrates just how effective calling out bad behaviour is when it comes to driving change.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is a comparison between the flexible arrangements in the 2019 list and those in the 2018 list. The 2018 list was focused on what might be considered "traditional" flexible working arrangements (with the majority of women having a 4 day a week working arrangement). The 2019 list highlights examples of summer shutdowns and greater flexibility across the working week. It is the agencies that are willing to be really innovative when it comes to what flexible working looks like who will drive the revolution and force through change.
Flexism has gone unchallenged in a workplace that was historically designed for men, with women at home. But now the responsibility is on everyone, from individuals to business leaders, to call out outdated behaviour and drive real change in the way we work.