It was an important decision professionally and personally.
Jane is now a member of Knauf Insulation’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Working Group and in 2018 received a Knauf Leadership Award. “It felt great to know that the business acknowledged a variety of leadership styles, and I didn’t have to show typically male traits to be successful. I may work in a male dominated team, but I didn’t have to change who I was to be accepted.”
Bias and the gender pay gap
Today is International Women’s Day which this year calls on everyone to #BreakTheBias and work towards a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination where difference is valued.
And there is a lot of work to be done. In the European Union, for example, women earn 84 cents for every €1 that a man earns and only 6.9% of CEOs are women. And, as the European Commission points out, “The main cause of this is the way women’s skills are valued compared to men’s.”
In other words, bias.
Siân Hughes, Knauf Insulation’s Group HR & Corporate Affairs Director, says: “We are all hard wired by our upbringing, genetics, life view and environment and develop implicit beliefs — stereotypes and attitudes — which influence the way we interact with colleagues and how we make decisions.
“As a result, people can have both positive and negative working experiences working with us. We are often unaware we have these biases or the impact they have. Women experience more unconscious biases than men in the workplace because we still associate typically male traits with leadership.”
Raising awareness of bias
In line with the #PutPeopleFirst goal of Knauf Insulation’s sustainability strategy For A Better World, the company has committed to build on the diversity that has made the company such a success.
Already a significant amount of work has been carried out across the company to break bias on a systemic level, while workshops, discussions and training to raise awareness of individual bias have received positive feedback.
In addition, there has been an emphasis on understanding how more inclusive environments for female colleagues can help ensure everyone is given the opportunity to have their voice heard.
This year the focus will be on programmes for leaders to raise awareness of how unconscious bias can impact the people around them and on training of Human Resource team in specific areas such as fair recruiting and appraisal.