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Gender and Pay Equity in Today's Workplace: A Conversation with Natalie Bickford

The following post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos.

I recently discussed the thorny issues of workplace gender equity with my colleague and Workforce Institute board member Natalie Bickford. Natalie is the Group Human Resources Director at Merlin Entertainments PLC and she has more than 20 years of HR experience, with companies like Barclays, Kingfisher, AstraZeneca, and Sodexo. Natalie is also a thought leader in diversity and inclusion and has won several awards for her contributions to gender diversity in the UK, including recognition as a diversity champion by the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion, and the Working Mums Champion Award in 2012. She was also the chair of Women 1st, an organization that promotes the role of women within the industry. In addition to all this, Natalie was recently recognized as one of the most influential HR practitioners in the UK.

While over a century has passed since the beginning of the women's suffrage movement, we still have a way to go to achieve true equity in the workplace.  Statistics abound regarding the stubbornly persistent pay gaps between men and women.  The rise of the #MeToo movement makes it clear that beyond pay, women continue to be confronted by harassment in the workplace based on their gender.  With this in mind, I recorded a podcast interview with Natalie to address these and other questions:

  1. Most people agree that increasing diversity at all levels of an organization is critical for success, so why do you think progress has been so slow and what do you think employers need to do differently?
  2. What were the most interesting insights you gained as chair of Women 1st?
  3. In 2018, UK legislation came into force, requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish gender pay information, publicly on their websites. What difference - if any - do you think this has made?
  4. A lot of high profile male leaders have been toppled this year due to allegations of sexual harassment of subordinates. What do you think it's going to take to eliminate this behavior in the workplace? And how do you embolden women to speak up when it's happening?
  5. There has been a lot written about what women need to do better in their own careers: speak up, negotiate for pay, take credit for work done, etc. - skills that come more naturally to men and are generally perceived more positively when done by men. What do you think about this advice and what advice would you give to a young woman starting her career?

You can listen to our conversation here:

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