This year, the 9th International Project Management Day has taken ‘women and children’ as its theme. There is something to be said for the role of project management in education, and I’ve written before about the good work that various groups are doing to encourage project management skills in schools.
Equality in project management – as everywhere else – is a good thing. Equality helps everyone. Back in March, Project Magazine carried and article that read:
“From planning a wedding to booking a big family holiday, there are a number of tasks that women traditionally project manage on a daily basis. But what is industry doing to advance female project management professionals?”
The answer is pretty much nothing. It is only recently that I’ve started to see part-time, evening and weekend training courses that enable working parents to fit study around their family commitments. These are good options for everyone, not just women. Companies with a good gender mix in their senior teams perform better, according to research by McKinsey and Catalyst.
Both men and women take advantage of flexible working policies and the opportunity to work from home. A better work/life balance leads to more productive employees who are more motivated and more likely to spend longer with the company. In turn this cuts down recruitment costs, saving the company money.
Workplace policies that may have started off as initiatives to support working women have turned into schemes that help everyone work better and live better. The more we think of this sort of thing as improving everyone’s quality of life, the less likely it is people will feel that women need special treatment at work.
Having said all that, some of the power lies with women to make changes themselves. Research by Charlotte Neuhauser, PMP, shows that 75% of women think that women are weaker project managers than men! If we don’t believe that we’re capable of doing a good job without special treatment, who will?