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Opening New Doors for Gender Diversity

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the importance of creating a diverse, inclusive workplace—particularly when it comes to attracting and retaining women. After all, the business benefits of gender diversity in the workplace are well documented. Gender-diverse teams make better decisions. They’re more innovative. And they yield more financial gains: A Gallup study of the retail and hospitality industries found that business units with a higher percentage of women had 14 percent higher revenue (in retail) and 19 percent higher quarterly net profit (in hospitality) than less diverse ones.

However, there have always been barriers to gender diversity in the workplace—particularly when it comes to older working women. For example, childcare still tends to be thought of as a “female” role in the United States. Many women—whether by choice or not—take a break from the workforce for months, years, or even permanently to focus on raising children. If they do wish to re-enter the workforce later in life, they are often seeking more flexible positions, as Forbes points out: “They might be phasing into retirement or looking to get a toe back in the workplace after years away raising a family or caring for a parent. Or they may simply want a job that’ll finally give them autonomy — being in control of their time and able to set a schedule that works for their lifestyle.”

One of the myriad benefits of flexible work arrangements is that, now more than ever, they can encourage greater gender diversity in the workplace. These roles—which can entail part-time work and working from home, for example—are perfectly suited not just to mature workers in general, but to mature women specifically. That is a win-win for both women and business.

What do you think? Do you think flexible workplaces can benefit mature women workers as well as their employers?

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