Women at work – designing a company fit for the future

By 01.07.19PublicationsAugust 27th, 2020No Comments

New report by HPC founder Deborah Hargreaves asks what corporations would look like if designed from a woman’s perspective

A new report out by HPC founder and board member Deborah Hargreaves imagines a ‘feminine corporation’ based on interviews with over 150 different women drawn from a range of different professional backgrounds.

Deborah believes that the current world of work is largely the same as the one designed by and for men at a time when most women did not participate in paid employment. She argues that only fundamental change to the way we currently work can create an economy that is fair for all regardless of gender.

Despite their increased role in the workplace over the past century, women still take on most caring responsibilities. The present system of maternity leave is insufficient in addressing this, and no such provisions are in place for women caring for elderly dependants. Deborah believes that a paradigm shift is needed to rectify this, one which makes work fit around caring, rather than caring fit around work.

A key part of this is a switch from merely supporting flexible working to embracing agile working. This would include introducing a four-day working week for all, but also reducing the number of hours employees need to be in the office and breaking down full time positions into a wider range of job-share and part time positions.

The report recommends full equality of pay, promotion and representation on boards, calling for the use of quotas and shortlisting in making job appointments, in the same way that they are currently used in political parties. Deborah suggests that a ‘Companies Act’ could be enacted to bring about these changes across the economy.

Deborah envisions a new kind of workplace, one which places priority on an ethical and sustainable way of working rather than a focus purely on profits and growth. Rewards would also be based on the broad values of the company rather than simply on individual performance. Deborah’s vision is not just one which would bridge the gender gap, but one which would transform the way we do work altogether, aiming to boost the well-being of men as well as women.

The report will be formally launched at an HPC event this Wednesday at the House of Lords. For full details on how to reserve a space at the event, click here.

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