International Women’s Day 2022: Together we #BreakTheBias

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International Women’s Day 2022: Together we #BreakTheBias

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, we lift the voices of our women employees, highlighting their diverse experiences and thoughts about inclusivity. Their insights help #BreaktheBias by not only describing their experiences but advocating for change. We asked a few of our women employees to share their perspectives on topics surrounding inclusivity and equality. Here’s what they had to say:

Inspired by Women

We asked our participants to explain a time when they were inspired and motivated by women in action. These answers varied from their own mothers and colleagues, to iconic women who have trailblazed through the challenges of the world. We wanted to showcase the variation of the driving force behind each individual, and that inspiration for change can be found everywhere.

Kristen – “As the pandemic hit in early March 2020, we all became glued to the television to watch all the Covid-19 updates. The news would compare countries and their management of the pandemic.  The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, would be mentioned as her impressive leadership for that country was newsworthy. I always take notice when her name is mentioned because I am inspired and impressed by her.  She embodies what women are capable of; to be leaders in their careers. Bringing her three-month-old baby to a United Nations assembly that she was speaking at is simply inspiring.”

Pratishtha – “I read this quote from Indra Nooyi: ‘There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal, you stop paying attention to the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up.'”

Monique – “From the suffragettes’ movement of women’s rights to #MeToo to #HeForShe to the everyday actions of women supporting women – these moments are what inspire me. All too well, we are familiar with oppression of women in history and empowering women means supporting each other in the little moments as well.”

 

Women in Leadership

When we posed the question about more women in leadership positions, we wanted to understand how our candidates felt about the changes that would happen, given an increase in representation. The responses supported the idea that the best leaders should be placed in those positions, whether throughout organizations or government. However, it was agreed that better representation may lead to more dynamic governance and broadening of perspectives.

Amita – “Women are an integral part of society and are fully capable of taking on leadership roles. Their thought processes, opinions and leadership styles can provide valuable insights and perhaps provide a refreshing take on problem solving. Regardless of gender, we need the best possible leaders in our workplaces and the government. But since half the population in Canada is female, I believe it is important to have the gender scale balanced in leadership roles, especially in specific industries. As a society we also have an obligation to teach our children, especially females, to strive to their highest potential. If they are consistently being exposed to women in leadership roles, this will grow their confidence. In turn, this will drive future generations of girls to believe in themselves even more and to take on more risks.”

Tiparny – “I believe there are big benefits from having greater leadership diversity; women in leadership bring organizations new perspective. Our natural ability to mentor and coach with humility and authenticity creates a more desirable workplace culture and has proven to increase teamwork and productivity. Melinda Gates said it best, ‘gender diversity is not just good for women; it’s good for anyone who wants results.’”

 

Equality in the workplace

When we look at the Market Research industry, we generally see less representation of women in the field. So, we asked how the women at Quest felt about that, with reference to how they achieve their goals. Most focused inward and indicated that authenticity should be the main driver to support a successful career. They suggested that accomplishment was not about creating division, but rather, partnership.

Shreya – “I try to stick to below 2 mantras and this has always helped me to succeed in a male dominated environment:

  • Know Your Worth
  • Let Your Voice Be Heard”

Maria – “Staying true to myself and my beliefs. It’s important to understand my learning and teaching style and ensuring that my coworkers and those I service feel safe and secure. Just because a field is male dominated doesn’t mean that women can’t shine and continue to break barriers.”

Moneeza – “Working hard while taking the time to get to know my colleagues for the last 7 years has helped me succeed. Our HR department and recruitment efforts have always taken extreme care to bring on people of the same values—the men and the women that make up our teams believe in unity, growth, respect, and transparency. To find your place amongst those kinds of people is not difficult.”

 

The Market Research Industry and Equality

We asked our participants to comment on the changes they would like to see in the Market Research industry to improve representation for women. Their responses varied from advocating for more male support for women in research to better inclusion of female leadership opinions.  They mention that good work had been made thus far, but more should be done.

Erin – “We all have innate biases so understanding those biases would be the first step to understanding how to create a more equal world. Being the flagship for fact finding, the MR industry has the responsibility of highlighting diversity issues and should continue to keep the conversation about equality at the forefront. Even though there has been credible work done previously, there should be more robust efforts for creating change.”

Tiparny – “To improve equality, leaders must understand inequality and where it is present within the organization. Strong leadership should be connecting on a personal level, making work-life balance a priority, and proactively addressing the barriers women, especially women of color, may be facing. Gaining this understanding and building a diverse leadership team with experience in recognizing these barriers is essential in creating workplace equality.”

 

Working from home

More than ever, the responsibility organizations have for supporting their workers to balance their lives holistically has been brought to the forefront. Women have been generally disadvantaged by the effects of the pandemic, and as such, our respondents voiced their opinions on how work-life balance could evolve in the future.

Shreya – “Work From Home has provided a substantial flexibility to women and this flexibility of working remotely is helping a larger number of women join the workforce who earlier, due to household chores and tasks like taking care of children, were not able to work at all! Due to this flexibility, we have seen women dedicate themselves more towards work who were, earlier, shy to do the same due to the moral responsibilities they have. Because of this, we have now seen rise of women in mid to senior leadership roles, and the continued access to working remotely could definitely see a rise in women aspiring for leadership roles.”

Susan – “I find this question difficult to answer because of my own struggles during the pandemic.  It was truly the first time in my life that I contemplated a less demanding career. Career women have gratefully taken on a duality role, balancing work life and home life successfully, over the years.  When the pandemic hit, mothers and women in care roles, were asked to pick up on their work productivity at the same time they were faced with managing care at home, including educating children.  They were the thread holding it all together.  The result was “burn-out” and the great resignation.  I wonder if there were more women in leadership roles during the pandemic, capable of understanding and recognizing this impossible task, would women have been given a softer pillow to land and greater recognition for what they accomplished.”

 

The collaborative environment at Quest Mindshare is enriched with the opinions of women at various levels of the organization, who share their perspectives through the lens of women in research.  As we rally the voices of each individual, we support the desire for an equal opportunity future and hope you are inspired by these stories. We thank all contributors to this important discussion as we celebrate the achievements of women all over.

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