<title-serif>How organisations can champion women every<title-serif><title-sans> day of the year<title-sans>

As we work to continuously improve, we're sharing initiatives that Beyond has implemented to uplift women and promote gender equality.

Employee Experience
5 min read
Jade Perry
Jade Perry

Jade, Content Marketing Manager at Beyond, has a decade of experience creating content for agencies and brands.

Group of women sat around their laptops talking and smiling.

Significant strides have been made towards gender equality in the workplace. Yet, despite progress, women still face numerous challenges, ranging from unequal pay to underrepresentation in leadership roles.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, we must remind ourselves that championing women should not be a once-a-year commitment but a continuous focus for organisations. So what actions can organisations take to support women year-round? 

At Beyond, we’re constantly striving to create an inclusive culture. Here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way.

1. Form a DE&I council and support their work

Organisations must make a conscious effort to create open and inclusive workplaces – this is not something that happens automatically (or overnight) but rather a deliberate strategy that requires commitment. 

Beyond prioritised this by launching a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) council. Our council meets fortnightly and organises initiatives to celebrate the diversity of our workforce. From webinars on neurodiversity to workshops on unconscious bias, we are constantly working to create a safe environment where everyone feels heard and welcomed.

“Our DE&I council was established to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion across our organisation,” says Maria Rodrigues, Employee Experience Manager, “We aim to educate and inspire, challenge our ways of working, and integrate inclusion into all aspects of Beyond.” 

This kind of initiative empowers our employees and fosters a sense of belonging, improving overall engagement and satisfaction.

“Our DE&I council recently paved the way for a 6-month paid maternity leave in the UK. We are constantly striving to improve our policies and advocate for all of our employees.”

<quote-author>Maria Rodrigues<quote-author><quote-author-title>Employee Experience Manager at Beyond<quote-author-title>

2. Normalise women's health

A key way to support women in the workplace is to destigmatise women's health issues. Encourage an open dialogue and regularly review health and wellness policies to ensure they are inclusive. The more normalised women’s health issues are, the more comfortable and empowered women will feel in the workplace. 

For those who experience menopause, Beyond has recently implemented a policy that recognises the impact that this stage of life can have on wellbeing. Our menopause policy allows employees to request adjustments to their schedules or request paid time off without fear of judgement or discrimination. 

Beyond also allows employees to take up to 15 Wellness Days per year. This initiative is designed to promote mental and physical health, encouraging employees to take time for self-care, medical appointments and other such activities. We believe that employees are more engaged, motivated and aligned with Beyond’s goals and values when they feel supported in every aspect of their health.

3. Be open and communicate about issues that affect women

Organisations should show a genuine commitment to gender equality and actively address issues that impact women.

When the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the nationwide right to abortion in the US, Beyond shared two emails with staff. The first was from our CEO, Matthew Iliffe, who acknowledged that the decision was a step back for women’s rights and at odds with our values as an organisation. He encouraged employees to reach out to the People team if they needed support and affirmed his solidarity. The second was from Kristine Medina, People & Culture Director, North America, who assured staff that their healthcare benefits, which already allowed employees to seek medical care in other states, would remain in place. An additional benefit was also added to reimburse employees for interstate travel costs for lifesaving or life-changing treatment. This simple yet powerful gesture sends a message of solidarity to women and shows that the company advocates for their rights.

By offering reassurance, implementing supportive policies, or simply encouraging an open line of communication, organisations can break down barriers to equality, improve the emotional well-being of staff and create an environment where everyone feels secure, supported, and valued. 

4. Encourage flexible working

The traditional model of strict 9-to-5 office work no longer suits the modern workforce. A 2023 report by McKinsey found that 78% of women and 60% of men highly value the opportunity to work remotely, and 68% of women and 54% of men highly value control over their working hours. 

This rings particularly true for parents, especially mothers, who tend to carry the bulk of childcare responsibilities. In the same study, 38% of mothers with young children said that they would have had to leave their company or reduce their work hours without flexibility in their work arrangements. 

Beyond has been remote-first for over 3 years now, following insights from internal surveys which showed that employees experienced a significant improvement in their overall outlook on work when given the option to work remotely.

What’s more, we improved our approach to flexible working and now allow employees to request a change to their working times and/or days. Whether it's for family commitments, health reasons or personal development, this flexible working policy ensures that all Beyonders can achieve a work-life balance that works for them without sacrificing their career.

"Our flexible working policy not only supports mothers at Beyond, but fathers too. It allows them to share their parental responsibilities with their partners,” says Jade Fitzgerald, Experience Design Director at Beyond, “Normalising childcare responsibilities for both parents provides opportunities for more women to return to work and continue building their own careers.”

By offering options like remote work, part-time schedules, or flexible hours, organisations can adapt to the evolving needs of their employees, foster a culture of inclusivity and retain talent. 

“As a working mum, having a flexible working policy that benefits my day-to-day life is invaluable. I can compress my hours to fit around childcare, minimising that feeling of ‘mum-guilt’ that so often plagues mothers."

<quote-author>Jade Fitzgerald<quote-author><quote-author-title>Experience Design Director at Beyond<quote-author-title>

5. Mentor girls and women

Organisations have a powerful opportunity — and responsibility — to shape the future of their workforce and industry. By launching or sponsoring mentorship programmes, they can directly impact the trajectory of girls and women in their fields.

It is worth choosing programmes that best align with the business and its values. Beyond, for example, actively sponsors Portuguese Women in Tech, which reflects our dedication to promoting gender diversity within the technology sector, particularly in Lisbon where our tech hub is located.

These initiatives may take different forms — they may be sponsorships or may involve connecting junior employees with more senior members of staff to foster their development and prepare them for leadership roles. By creating mentorship initiatives, in whatever form that suits the organisation, companies can show their commitment to gender equality and contribute to creating a more equitable industry.

6. Teach employees to recognise and tackle bias

Confronting bias is crucial for creating a more equal workplace. Both conscious and unconscious biases can affect hiring, promotions and day-to-day interactions. Educating employees about the existence and impact of these biases is the first step in tackling the issue head-on. 

Beyond has tried to address this by providing employees with unconscious bias training. This recorded webinar provides information about what unconscious bias is, how it operates in the workplace, and offers practical methods for counteracting bias. Importantly, our training adopts an intersectional approach, acknowledging that factors like race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability can compound women's experiences of bias. 

By introducing mandatory bias training and providing educational resources on bias and microaggressions, companies can help individuals recognise their own biases and develop strategies to counteract them.

Looking ahead

The journey towards gender equality is ongoing. While International Women's Day serves as a powerful reminder, let's use this day as a springboard for year-round action. 

Organisations can create happier, fairer work environments by building an inclusive workplace and fostering a culture that celebrates diversity. Building this takes time and requires continuous work, but the rewards for doing so are invaluable.

Beyond improving employee satisfaction and retaining and attracting talent, there's a compelling financial incentive to championing diversity. McKinsey found that diverse companies — both in terms of gender and ethnicity — are more profitable than non-diverse companies.

As we move forward, let's continue to challenge biases, encourage open dialogue and work to improve policies that break down barriers to women’s success.

Employee Experience
5 min read
Jade Perry
Jade Perry

Jade, Content Marketing Manager at Beyond, has a decade of experience creating content for agencies and brands.