The #WalkTheTalk campaign has just launched, supported by O2, encouraging men everywhere to stand up for gender equality in the workplace. Sarah Evans, Head of SMB Marketing at O2, reckons it will do men a favour.
In 2016, women still earn 18% less than men. Male managers are 40% more likely to be promoted than female managers. And in the last year, just 1% of men took the shared parental leave they’re entitled to.
The facts speak for themselves – we’re still a long way from gender equality in the workplace. But despite decades of advances by women, the gender gap won’t close unless men help, and add their voices to the debate.
And that’s why I’m proud that O2 is supporting the #WalkTheTalk campaign. It aims to encourage men to get involved and show their support for gender equality, and help make the workplace a fairer, better place for everyone.
I understand that some men may think gender equality is a good idea, but that it’s not really their fight. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We all need to work together to make the idea a reality, and there’s a lot of good evidence that men also benefit, with more flexible working hours (which women are more likely to get than men), less stress both at work and at home, and happier, healthier lives.
Better for men, better for business
Gender equality is good for business too. By equalising men’s and women’s pay levels it’s been estimated that we could add more than 10% to the UK economy by 2030 – that’s up to £600bn. And by getting a better representation of society (and customers) in the workplace, UK Government research has found that companies with strong female representation at board and top management level perform better than those without.
At O2 we’re already doing our bit. Our Women in Leadership programme is supporting talented, ambitious women early in their careers by making sure they get the opportunities and support they need to achieve their goals. Our Career Returners programme helps both women and men who’ve taken career breaks back into work at their own pace and more than a hundred of O2’s top executives have dedicated time to speak to school pupils about the opportunities within the tech sector.
And of course, we’re encouraging all our male staff and customers to tweet their feet – taking snaps of their bare (or stockinged) feet in the workplace and sharing them via Twitter to show their support, and prove that it’s not the shoes you wear, but what you stand for, that counts.
Go on, tweet your feet at #WalkTheTalk