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Exploring the Impact of Parental Allyship Training on Workplace Biases

Written by Emma Waltham | Parental Returners Expert

As we start 2024, and progressive organisations are embracing the concept of inclusive leadership, it’s easy to think that we have made real progress in creating genuinely inclusive workplaces. However, research published by the Young Women’s Trust before Christmas is a sobering reminder of the prevalence of outdated and harmful workplace attitudes and biases.

Its poll of 900 personnel managers in England and Wales found that:

  • Nearly one in seven HR decision-makers believe that men are better suited to senior roles than women

  • Nearly one in five admitted they were reluctant to hire women who they thought might go on to start families

  • Younger HR managers were more likely than their older counterparts to be prejudiced against women’s capacity to tackle the biggest roles.

"Living in the dark ages"

“It is shocking that HR managers still believe that men are better suited to senior management than women,” said Alesha De-Freitas, the head of policy at the Fawcett Society. “This then funnels through to all of women’s experiences at work, from pay discrimination to unfair treatment around contracts. No wonder there is no prospect of the gender pay gap closing for at least another 28 years.”

It said the figures were a “travesty” and showed England and Wales were “living in the dark ages”.

Don’t let old-fashioned attitudes derail your plans

Returning Works’ suite of Parental Allyship training is a great place to start. Our training shows leaders, managers and colleagues how to create a family friendly culture, sharing a best-practice framework that will make expectant parents feel supported and valued.

We offer:

Workshops for line managers – our two-hour, interactive virtual workshops are designed to educate managers about the impact that the parental transition has on employees in the workplace. Facilitated by a parental returner expert, our Parental Allyship Workshops cover:

  • The business case for re-engaging returners and their lived experience in the workplace

  • A best practice return to work framework

  • How to recognise and counteract workplace biases

  • Case studies of women going through the maternity transition, to help develop empathy and understanding

  • How to help parental carers successfully blend their professional responsibilities with their professional lives.

Read about how Great Western Railway's 2023 International Women's Day workshop explored how to create allies at senior levels.

Webinars – a one-hour virtual, live session designed to raises awareness of how becoming a parent impacts on women professionally, while helping colleagues from across the organisation understand the lived experience of maternity returners and the role they as a colleague, partner or manager can play as allies.

Bite-size videos for line managers – our new series of three, 15-minutes parental training videos upskill line managers and give them a best-practice framework to work to. The videos can be delivered quickly and will fit seamlessly into your Learning Management System, so they can be accessed by your line managers as and when they’re needed.

View a snippet from our bite-sized videos for line managers.

Let’s work together

If you're keen to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace for your returning parents, get in touch to book a webinar, workshop or series of videos that will upskill your line managers, raise awareness of the lived experiences of working parents, and foster a culture of allyship and understanding within your workplace.


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