#SWAAYthenarrative

GE Aims to Close Gender Gap by 2020

Culture

In an unprecedented and enormous move towards gender equality in the workplace, General Electric has promised to implement programs to push the hiring of females — pledging 20,000 jobs — so that by 2020, the company's in-house gender ratio will be 50:50.


GE proposes that decreasing the gender gap will increase GDP and consequently economic activity, improving living standards, and of course living morale. An equal society, as much of a dream that it may seem like, is feasible, and GE is currently in the process of assembling boards that will preside over future hiring and encourage hiring in particular schools to increase the likelihood of that proposed 50:50 ratio.

“MIT economists have discovered that a gender shift could increase company revenue by 41%."

- Statement from GE

The mission, one that aligns very singularly with SWAAY's own, is one that develops the relationship between women and business, women and technology, and pushes toward that future that has appeared very distant since the election. Coupled with the constant reminders that women are not nearly on par with their male counterparts when it comes to CEO status or career advancement, the gender disparity in business has been long reporter. While there have been pushes forward for more inclusivity, the simple fact is, it's a slow and tiresome process that most companies have neither the time nor the resources to devote themselves to.

"GE is expanding its 'Leading without Bias' training and are arming GE businesses with tools and tactics to implement its teachings day-to-day for the benefit of their entire employee population." - GE statement

GE's plan does not however merely center on hiring females, but rather it will focus on the retention of females in the tech and engineering workplace. Their figures show that a measly 17 to 30 percent of women rise to levels of seniority in these jobs. Of course there is at least one very natural and good explanation for this — motherhood — but should that really push women off the executive ladder? To counteract the trend of mothers simply leaving their jobs after giving birth, GE is introducing more incentives and aids to help new parents make the transition back into the workplace . These include working flexibility, pregnancy benefits and parental leave - all contributing to the normalization of the working mom rather than marginalizing her from the working world, which will soon be tackled by the government.

Rockstar scientist Millie Dresselhaus appears in the company's new ad, which was directed by Nicole Holofcener, as the type of celebrity GE want to celebrate and promote in this push for gender equality. She was the first woman to win the US National Medal of Science and Engineering, and at an impressive 86 years old, definitely goes against what most people would consider a 'typical' celebrity brand ambassador. Suffice to say, it's a beautiful tear-jerker.

The campaign GE is executing is exactly the type needed to explore the boundaries of stereotype and challenge the types of people who, today, are being recognized as idols. Celebrity status was something people have taunted ever since the election, given the enormous backing Sen. Clinton had from Hollywood and the celebrity world, and of course our President's background in the television spotlight. GE's advert is a welcome addition to a campaign for equality, which has admittedly become a bit repetitive in the last few months.

In a move that reminds us of Audi's recent Super Bowl ad for pay equality, the 60 second GE video is certainly touching on a hot button issue. While the critics say these messages dusted with feminism may just be smart marketing tricks designed to play off the country's renewed sense of activism, the end just may justify the means. Much like affirmative action has had its critics, it cannot be denied that putting more women into roles where they can bring their creativity, intuition, and unique problem solving abilities to the workplace can only be good for our country, and help us possibly move the needle, and become leaders in the push towards a more equal world.

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.