Hello PPMA members and friends

Today, the 8th March 2022 is International Women’s Day and the theme for this year is #BreakTheBias. The campaign is looking to actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping whenever and wherever it’s seen. And to show solidarity, everyone is being asked to strike the IWD 2022 pose and cross your arms and share your images, videos, resources presentations or articles using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias

To show our solidarity, joint PPMA Vice President and Assistant Director Human Resources & Organisational Development at Salford City Council Sam Betts, is sharing what International Women’s Day and the #BreakTheBias campaign means to her.

The theme for the International Women’s Day 2022 campaign is #BreakTheBias and the words below have really resonated with me:

  • Imagine a gender equal world.
  • A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
  • A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
  • A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
  • Together we can forge women’s equality.
  • Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

These words have prompted me to reflect both on what I can do personally and also what we collectively as HR & OD professionals can do to ensure that, at least in our sector and our workplaces, we don’t have to imagine …..  What can we all do to celebrate and support women, raise awareness about bias and take action to achieve gender equality?

As part of the PPMA community we all hold roles with the power to influence and shape practice, policy and approaches across a range of areas which can have a positive impact on women and it’s incumbent on us all to make sure that we do all that we can to create truly inclusive and welcoming workplaces that are accessible to all and where everyone is encouraged and supported to achieve their full potential.

We’ve got a unique opportunity to use the learning from the last 2-years to develop a strong flexible and hybrid working offer that opens up work and working in our sector to those who may previously have been excluded. Lets challenge ourselves to think differently about how we construct jobs and organise work – it really is about outcomes and not simply presenteeism.  Let’s not take a step backwards and try to force work back in to an outdated model – and do we really need in person meetings before 10:00 which can exclude so many people when we have digital alternatives?

Let’s use some of the challenges our sector is facing around recruitment and retention to create opportunities and encourage more women in to professions where historically they may have been excluded! With different approaches to recruitment, increased flexibility for where and when people work, job redesign and training and development there is an opportunity to encourage women who may have felt excluded either due to perception or barriers for accessing this type of work. We’ve got the flexibility to use apprenticeships to gain the qualifications – so let’s create new routes in to digital, planning, engineering and many more!

But it doesn’t stop there. Lets make it easier for women to progress within our sector by building flexibility in to our career pathways and development programmes. But most importantly lets listen to understand what it’s really like, listen to what might be getting in the way and do something about it. Let’s create a culture that continuously supports and encourages women, that builds confidence and empowers them to put themselves forward and achieve their goals and lets celebrate their achievements!

And with so many amazing women role models – too many to mention – throughout our PPMA community lets use our collective #PPMA voice and network to really #BreakTheBias

Sam Betts

Joint PPMA Vice President and Assistant Director Human Resources & Organisational Development at Salford City Council

Why not join us in showing your solidarity and share your #BreakTheBias images and resources on this International Women’s Day.