As Hong Kong continues to gradually relax COVID-19 measures, reverberations from the pandemic are still being felt in all aspects of our lives and the workplace is no exception. While the impact of COVID-19 has been felt by all of us, working mothers and caregivers have been particularly affected. Due to prolonged struggles in managing work with remote schooling and extra family care and household responsibilities, many women have moved to part time roles or dropped out of the workforce altogether. This decline in female employment and women’s reduced participation in the labour force is threatening to undo two decades worth of work and efforts at increasing gender equality.
This year’s Gender Equality Hackathon focused on this critical challenge for organisations. Participants from TWF’s Advocate and Engage Partners came together and engaged in a full-day virtual event where they worked collaboratively on developing solutions to regain female talent lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was supported by IBM Consulting as Lead Sponsor who provided a design-thinking workshop to frame and encourage out-of-the-box thinking from each group. Evaluated on their impact, feasibility and creativity by a panel of judges, here are the four proposed solutions:
- Parent Pal (winner): a support platform for working parents with a point-based system that rewards users for managing work-life balance. This platform aims to reduce stigma, self-guilt, empower and build empathy & compassion as well as promote corporate responsibility across the organisation.
- Next Level Experience: A policy change implemented in two phases that aims to create a workplace where women can thrive. This policy change is meant to develop a sustainable framework to create a culture where women are supported from various levels and the policy is integrated into the wider business goals.
- RAMP: Returnship Alliance Marketplace- a marketplace for employees returning to work. RAMP matches corporates and experienced talent returning to work to establish a "market ready" workforce through structured internships including various components such as skills refresh, career coaching and professional counselling.
- STAR: a mobile app that helps women in business connect with each other, build a community where women can cooperate with each other and share ideas and experiences.
We know being able to increase gender diversity in the workforce following the pandemic is not a one-size-fits-all solution nor can it be achieved through implementing a single policy, app or platform. Rather, our aim with this hackathon was to facilitate critical thinking and develop innovative solutions to boost female talent and retention, as well as strengthen each organisation’s commitment to fostering a gender equal workplace and community.
We look forward to continuing our work to enable companies to embrace the silver lining the pandemic has given us: to rethink our approach to building diverse workplaces in more gender equitable and inclusive ways.
Congratulations to all participants!
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.