The fact that JVR as an entrepreneurial concern was established by women, that the leadership at JVR still, after 30 years, primarily consists of women, and that most of our employees are women, provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on our realities and learnings over the years of women in the workplace.
We all vehemently agree that issues such as gender-based violence or femicide, discrimination, bullying, or disrespect of women in the workplace and society remain an absolute disgrace and that we should all do everything humanly possible to expose and resist this.
Let’s however, for a moment, turn our heads away from so much dreadful “banging and noise” about women and focus more calmly on the immense value they bring to leadership, teams, and the workplace.
Before embarking on this topic, two truths however need to be accepted:
- We must remind ourselves that women are as diverse as men. As with men, some women work hard and some less so, some are excellent leaders and some are not, some are competent, reliable, ethical, or innovative and analytical thinkers, whilst others are not, etc. The gender identity of male or female, therefore, does not in- and of itself provide specific workplace or job-related performance guarantees.
- Business owners require the best person to be employed for a job. This is the only way to sustain and grow a business. Best practice regarding the identification of the best person for a job requires objective evaluation with regards to their qualifications, competencies, skills, and relevant experience, as well as showing a healthy attitude, values, work ethic, learning orientation, social skills, and so much more. These principles exist without any gender automatically being at an advantage over the other.
Competent women at work provide significant and cumulative benefit. You get so much more when, in addition to competence and skill, women bring a variety of soft skills, so important/essential for standards, cohesiveness, and culture in a business!
In this regard, I mention but three of many characteristics that has really stood out for me regarding women at JVR over the last decades:
- Working with “us” rather than “I”
Women seem to grasp the concept of a business more easily as a social system, where working together achieves more than working for own benefit only. Whether she is more intro- or extroverted, the women I know and work with actively seek and find opportunities to create a sense of “us”. This has incredible benefits also with regards to the acceptance of diversity and the inclusion of others.
- Discipline and empathy
Discipline in the workplace is as important as respect, understanding, and care for others. Arguably, given the social role women often play in caring for children, siblings, or parents, the interplay of discipline and empathy seems to come somewhat more easily to women. Their default, quite often, would be to seek understanding first. In a complex work environment this allows for fairness and reflection before disciplinary action is taken.
- Very hard work:
Whether women work very hard because they understand the scarcity of money or believe that they cannot demand- but must earn respect, or because they have so many responsibilities that they must carefully plan every action and minute of the day is not clear. The women I have worked with over the years accept their responsibility with grace whilst providing excellence in their work output. The biggest risk has always been to keep them from “falling over” due to the amount of work and responsibility they are prepared to take on.
Having been able to work with competent women over many decades has been an exceptional experience and an absolute privilege. Whilst not denying the essential and enormous value of the men in our teams, the role of women who have worked for JVR over the years cannot be denied. The success of the JVR Group of companies can be directly related to the dedication of many exceptional women.