Saturday 17 November 2018

'Men built businesses for other men,' warns designer Lennon

Sonya Lennon. Picture: Frank McGrath
Sonya Lennon. Picture: Frank McGrath

Sorcha O'Connor

The gender pay gap is a "legacy" issue as men typically built businesses for other men in the past, according to fashion designer Sonya Lennon.

The businesswoman is the founder of Dress for Success Dublin, which helps women at the interview stage so they can succeed in re-entering the workforce.

Fashion-forward Ms Lennon has launched the charity's third #WorkEqual campaign and said that over the past three years there has been a dramatic shift in the conversation around pay inequality, but there is more to be done.

The campaign will highlight the gender pay gap - the disparity in the average hourly earnings of men and women - through public events, political engagements and awareness-raising activities on November 13.

Ms Lennon told the Irish Independent that people still need to be reminded about the benefits of men and women working together in businesses.

"Women have stepped up in world wars and then been put back in their box - that's history," said Ms Lennon.

"It's not what we can do to fix the woman but how we can help both genders working together in the workplace," she said.

"We have to look at how we can encourage men to value and share parental leave," she added. "There has been zero pick-up in some companies.

"It is a complex issue, down to legacy. We understand more now though.

"All research says blended teams can generate a higher profit for a company."

However, she said that things would not change overnight.

"Nobody's numbers are perfect - it's more about what you are going to do about it over five or 10 years, it's not going to happen overnight."

Meanwhile gender equality, fair compensation and motivation in the workplace are key concerns for employees, according to a new global survey released by Globoforce's WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute.

More women than men also reported not receiving any monetary bonuses.

Irish Independent

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