The evolution of the role of women in the marketplace is clearly stagnant. Our commitment at IHCC is to help reverse this situation within the Hispanic business community in Chicago.
Despite representing the majority of the population, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin, 53% of women in Chicago believe that the companies they work for do not offer the means to extend their advancement to senior positions.
There are emblematic cases such as the fashion industry, which essentially dedicated to women’s clothing, and growing thanks to women’s money, which still essentially are run by men.
What do we do at IHCC to reverse this situation and help the evolution of women in the workforce? As well as setting an example, with over 75% of our staff being women:
We understand that the dissemination of information and appropriate educational programs can help promote, within our business community, constant dialogue to talk about the necessary “empowerment” of women.
We help promote the diversity of work teams.
We promote business education to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities.
We design programs that allow equal access to entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.
The IHCC team at #EachforEqual1871 event at Merchandise Mart in Chicago. We recently celebrate with our partners from 1871 the International Women’s Day.
A recent study by Stanford Graduate School of Business found a solution to reduce inequalities in companies: incorporating more women in a candidate list for replacements.
Study participants were CEOs of small and medium-sized companies and they had to choose a replacement for a job opening.
Stanford researchers increased the number of women candidates on the list given to participants, causing the number of women to exceed that of men.
The above was enough for the vast majority of study participants to choose more women to join their team. In short: women have to master the selection processes to evolve more quickly in the labor force.
Long working hours = more productivity?
Many managers believe that the time a worker spends within a company is the main indicator of productivity or value that worker has for an organization.
With that way of thinking, the ones who lose are women, who are usually responsible for taking care of their family.
IHCC programs insist on the fact that women may display highly productive works habits, if new standards for valuing productivity are adopted, women will have the reward and recognition they deserve.
Does your team have one woman only?
Several studies show that a woman when in a position of an absolute minority, tends to be ignored by men. This worsens when it reaches positions of greater power and authority since it is in an environment completely taken by males, feeling, often, marginalized. IHCC programs discourage this gender imbalance in all types of businesses, from small businesses that have 2 employees to large corporations.
Family-friendly human resources policy
The flexibility of working hours, work from home, daycare centers in the company or other alternatives for those who need to take care of their children and have no one to leave them with, are practices that the IHCC promotes among its associates.
With this support, women can remain at work even when their children are in their most demanding phases, they can build the dream capital for a long time and can compete for higher positions.
Federal and Illinois laws make it clear that wages must be equal for men and women. However, we know that it’s not always a reality.
In many cases, men still earn more than women when performing the same function.
IHCC programs promote equal pay policy as one-step in the evolution of women in the workforce.
Companies need to understand and value the role of women. They are generally more present in universities and have a higher level of education than men. their skills and knowledge must be recognized.
Our organization wants to strengthen equality in business: its employees must be hired and evaluated based on their competence and not on gender issues. Women and the labor market should not be separate issues.
Therefore, this March 8, International Women’s Day, the IHCC reaffirms its commitment to continue promoting best practices to encourage equality and respect for women’s rights.
That is what we believe in and that is what we promote in public and in private. Our commitment to minorities also includes the struggle of women for a more inclusive society.
Silvia Bonilla currently serves as Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.