We examine the future of female at the London launch of Women in Innovation.
Founded in New York, Women in Innovation is a network dedicated to inspiring and advancing women working to pioneer new ideas across industries. As a female-founded business we were excited to be a part of the London launch event, hosted by The Future Laboratory.
The focus of the evening was Female Futures, with both organisers and attendees discussing what the future looks like and how women can thrive in a changing world. From the #TimesUp movement to varied brand responses to International Women’s Day, the conversation around gender issues and female empowerment has been central to the year so far. Nevertheless, brands continue to miss the mark when speaking to women, jumping on the bandwagon, rather than a considered and meaningful take on the issue. Token or misinformed gestures from brands have many people asking why in 2018, we are still in an era of pink-ification?!
To kick off the event, Victoria Buchanan, Strategic Researcher at The Future Laboratory addressed the hot topic and issues around diversity. Buchanan discussed how society’s definition of power, although traditionally associated with masculine qualities, is shifting to make way for women. The younger generation are creating new success metrics for themselves; 40% of under-30s think purpose is the most important criteria for a job (World Economics Forum) rather than the attributes traditionally associated with power, such as a job title or salary. As interpretations of success shift away from traditional power structures, power needs to be redefined as a tool for female empowerment.
Although there is no fast-lane on the road to empowerment, Household identified a series of opportunities that will be key in paving the way.
As AI moves into the workforce, traditionally ‘female’ traits like empathy are being seen as increasingly valuable, not only to achieve personal fulfilment but for wider social and economic growth. By 2020 emotional intelligence will be the sixth most sought after skill, ahead of judgement, decision-making and negotiation (World Economics Forum). Displays of empathy, such as the New York City council’s recent proposal for a ‘Right to Disconnect’, encouraging people to switch off from work and focus on themselves, will be key to creating positive cultural change.
With the global gender pay gap not set to close until 2186 (World Economic Forum), we are still living in a man’s world. For the next 168 years flexibility will be key when empowering women to succeed. Tech services like BumbleBizz are creating practical solutions and helping users design their own careers though connecting women to mentors and industry colleagues. While lifestyle service Behere is giving women the confidence to break out of their 9-5 and create their own nomadic lifestyle.
On reflection, it was clear from the group’s stories and discussions that diversity goes beyond gender, it is a multi-faceted and complex issue. As brands and businesses strive towards diversity targets and awaken to the value of women as leaders, employees, customers and more, we must think intersectionally and recognise the ‘diversity of diversity’.
Images courtesy of Women in Innovation, Brewdog and Behere