WIP Conference Helps Parking Take Next Steps Toward Gender Parity
The good news. We’re talking about it. From the Grammys and Golden Globes to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the topic that is at the forefront of conversation these days is ‘women’ and their place in our culture, society, politics, and business. The #MeToo Movement and a general frustration with gender inequality has led to the resurgence of activism going on around us today, with women stepping up, surfacing the challenges they face, and making their voices heard unlike never before.
Now for the bad news. According to data gathered by LinkedIn, fewer than 50 percent of leaders in every industry are women. Being able to break their silence and start the conversation about gender inequality, and what I would call gender disrespect, is an important first step, but a mere conversation isn’t the end game. Most of us are ready to move beyond and accomplish more than a hashtag. Most of us want progress, not just a process. Equal pay, equal opportunity, equal recognition, and equal respect are the goals today and those, my friend, are still a long way off for many.
Human progress is an interesting phenomenon. We’ve landed on the moon, split the atom, cloned animals, yet, still struggle to treat each other with dignity, respect or even just achieve gender parity in the corporate board room – which isn’t expected for another mind-boggling 217 years according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report.
However, there are indicators and hope that we can make real progress toward more parity and equality. We see recognition that diversity and inclusion make for good business is on the rise. Countless research studies have shown that companies with a higher representation of women at senior levels – as board members or C-suite executives – outperform those with less.
The Tipping Point?
During my senior year at Syracuse University, I took a capstone Public Relations course where I read Malcolm Gladwell’s newly released book, The Tipping Point, which provided, for at the time, a groundbreaking analysis of why certain trends would gain exponential popularity and initiate paradigm shifts while others would sputter out and fade away.
Many are calling the #MeToo Movement the modern women and gender equality’s “tipping point.” The current moment we find ourselves and how we respond has the potential to completely change the trajectory of how women fare in the workplace and beyond for years to come. That is why how we respond to this moment is so crucial. And that is why now is a perfect time to champion and promote women advancement initiatives in the parking industry. The awareness for the need of such initiatives is high and the opportunity to do so can be no greater.
This is especially true with the fourth annual Women in Parking Conference just days away. This year’s conference is March 25-26, 2018, the days directly preceding the PIE show. The theme is “Transforming Careers Through Diversity.”
Some highlights of this year’s conference include:
Keynote speaker – Debra Snider is an accomplished corporate lawyer and author. She will bring her perspective on how to successfully navigate as a woman in historically male-dominated businesses in, “Suit Yourself & Succeed: Diversity as A Competitive Advantage.”
Diversity Workshops featuring a number of industry leaders including Michelle Wendler (Principal at Watry Design), Barbara Chance (President and CEO of CHANCE Management Advisors), Kevin Uhlenhaker (CEO and Co-Founder of NuPark) and myself, Kathleen Laney (President of Laney Solutions).
The conference is an awesome opportunity for both women and men to connect with fellow parking professionals to discuss industry issues, share best practices, and inspire one another to conquer professional and personal challenges. Let me emphasize that point because it’s something that really impressed me when I first became active in the organization. Women in Parking has an active membership base of professionals of both genders and wouldn’t be successful without the support of women and men. Bringing men into the diversity conversation is in the best interest of your company and is paramount to creating equality in business.
The time is here. The time is now.
This is still opportunity to register for the Women in Parking Conference – just visit their website - womeninparking.com. This is an especially relevant year for WIP, so I strongly urge you to attend the conference. We are at the tipping point in terms of achieving something special – gender equality in the workplace. Let’s keep the conversation going, keep the momentum moving forward, address the systemic issues that have been swept under the rug, and ignored for far too long. Let’s make this the year we achieve gender equality so that when our daughters and sons grow up and enter the workforce, they don’t face the same challenges we did.