International Women’s Day is upon us again. Every year the spotlight shines on amazing women who have fought back against gender pay gaps, oppressive regimes, inadequate education and power-inequalities – inspirational women like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria, for example, who has just been appointed as the next WTO Director-General1
This year’s IWD campaign hashtag is #IChooseToChallenge2 and this seems very fitting to us after a year of upheaval. Many of the women impacted by the pandemic are not smashing glass ceilings or overturning patriarchal traditions, like many of the women we hear about on March 8th but are going above and beyond what is expected in ordinary life on a daily basis.
A useful way to gain insight into what the pandemic has meant for some women can be found in Mothers, Covid-19 and Work at Home3, a report that tells the first-hand accounts of how 12 mothers have coped with the pandemic and the roles they have been asked to play. It’s a great report, complete with touching Zoom portraits of them teaching and working alongside their children.
Issues surrounding flexible working, shared childcare responsibilities and parental leave – as well as the way in which companies address them – have risen to the foreground. With more women furloughed during the pandemic than men4, it’s a perfect time to re-examine how companies confront these issues, not only so that women get equal opportunities but so that organisations are ready for when circumstances suddenly change.
Here, the SAP Concur team are continuing their mission to increase the total number of female employees and surpass the current 42% of the workforce; ensuring our polices are inclusive and empowering .5 The largest increase can be seen particularly at our senior manager and manager/expert levels. We are glad to say our efforts do not go unnoticed and have paid off during recent times.
"My husband is the primary carer of our 2 young children and throughout my career at SAP Concur I have always been supported and provided with the flexibility that has allowed me to be an active and present parent. SAP Concur has demonstrated that they really care about me as an employee and an individual. This was incredibly welcome when we had to juggle the challenges of home schooling our children whilst continuing to drive success at work. Our leadership team has been able to offer solutions and understanding the whole way through.” - Ami Taylor, Product Strategy Lead, EMEA
“Setting and reaching new career goals has always been important to me. I’m thrilled that I have been able to take on stretch projects and development opportunities even whilst working from home and juggling childcare and home schooling with my husband, who also works full time. In my business unit, I am surrounded by strong female leaders, and the message I get from this is that I can achieve my goals and nothing can stand in my way.”- Sandra Lowe, Senior Manager - Client Marketing & Advocacy
“SAP Concur understand that men today aren’t only willing to take on half the responsibility for childcare, they also want to. With the increased demands on key workers, my wife (who is a hospital doctor) and I have seen the complexity of our childcare needs dramatically change this year, but I’ve been able to step in and do my fair share because of SAP Concur’s shared parental leave and flexible working arrangements. Without them, I don’t know how we would have managed.”- David Murray, Client Sales Executive
We’re also really proud of SAP’s own Business Women’s Network, which in 2020 held 17 events that welcomed 1301 visitors, including 251 external customers and attendees. The first event of takes place on International Women’s Day, in partnership with Maggie Buggie, SVP, Chief Business Officer, Services at SAP.
Maggie is a shining example of the support and investment that female employees can expect at SAP Concur. As well as being named one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in the Data Economy,” by Data Economy magazine, Maggie deals with one of today’s biggest struggles – juggling work and small children. In fact, when asked to join SAP’s senior leadership team, she had just had her second child. Not a problem for someone with drive AND the necessary support to fulfil it...
Which is exactly what we think International Women’s Day is all about! Celebrating women with drive and ambition but also ensuring organisations, governments and society provide the necessary support to allow women to fulfil their potential – whether that’s by sharing the home schooling or leading a worldwide trade organisation.
What do you choose to challenge? Tell the world by taking a photo of yourself with your hand held high and post it on your chosen social media platform(s) using #ChooseToChallenge and #IWD2021.