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International Women's Day: more than a celebration

On 8 March, the world marks International Women's Day. At Robert Walters, this day is not a standard 'celebration day' when we shower our female colleagues with gifts, but rather a moment of self-reflection. Eveline Calewaert and Evi Melkenbeke, members of the EMEA ED&I council (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) at Robert Walters Group, therefore organised an informal group discussion to reflect with colleagues on important issues such as gender equality and inclusion in the workplace.

"For many employees, International Women's Day seems a rather uneventful day, almost like any other. At first glance, that may seem regrettable, but actually it is a positive sign," shares Eveline. "It shows that the situation within our organisation is far beyond the area of alert. Inclusion is a crucial pillar of our corporate culture. We strive for equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender, age or race. Moreover, we want to respect everyone's personal situation. Individual life phases are no barrier to professional development, no matter what the circumstances are."

Evi adds: "Our inclusive mindset did not come about by itself. It is the result of a long-term policy of progressively raising awareness on issues such as gender equality. Every newcomer receives inclusiveness training as part of onboarding. This training not only covers internal perspectives on inclusiveness, but also teaches employees how to properly deal with discrimination. As a recruitment specialist, we have a sort of role model function in society. Because we work with partners from various sectors across our country, we have the opportunity to help raise awareness around (unconscious) gender bias in recruitment and selection. We do this not by lecturing, but by demonstrating an honourable, people-oriented approach ourselves in finding the right talent for the organisations we recruit for."

"On a day like International Women's Day, it is nice to note that there do not seem to be any major concerns around gender equality among both female and male employees. However, this is not to say that we should put the issue to rest, or that there is no more work to be done," says Evi. "We must continue to take steps as an organisation to create an environment where everyone feels valued, regardless of their gender or life stage. We do this by organising regular workshops and talks from the ED&I council. When it comes to topics such as inclusion and equality, it is important to also let our employees have their own say. By hearing and understanding their experiences, we can uncover areas for improvement and strengthen our inclusive culture. And that happens every day, step by step," Evi concludes.

 

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