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Mar 2016: Companies for equal workplace opportunities for women and men: discussing their actions publicly

Companies for equal workplace opportunities for women and men: discussing their actions publicly

Budapest, 8 March 2016 – One-third of all women in Hungary have felt that they do not enjoy the same opportunities as their male colleagues. This is what the community initiative WeAreOpen is seeking to change, with the participation of global companies, Hungarian startups and enterprises. In the hope of starting a tradition, they are publishing the measures they have introduced in 2016 to ensure the same chances and opportunities for women and men in the workplace. The first public pledges and diversity indicators were published on Women’s Day; others may join the call at any time during the year on the website Organisers of the campaign hope the initiative will serve as inspiration to others.

1.1 million employees in Hungary believe it is urgent for their workplace to take action towards ensuring equal opportunities and chances for women and men, according to a study by Gemius. One out of three women feel that they do not receive treatment equal with men when it comes to career opportunities (31%) or wages (37%). While it is a general phenomenon that men tend to experience inequality less than women, one out of four men in Hungary now agree that women and men do not receive the same opportunities in the workplace.

Furthermore, international studies show that not only is it better for female and male employees when their company includes diverse teams at all levels of the firm, comprised of a similar number of men and women, but this also makes such diverse companies more successful.

“We believe that being open – judging people solely on the basis of their actions and achievements – is not only right, but also makes good business sense. Certainly, studies do not paint a rosy picture of the situation today: this makes what can be done all the more important. The problem has been visible for a long time, but what we have not seen so far is which companies are doing what to change the situation. By encouraging public pledges, and giving these visibility, we hope to encourage change. What we have found is that we are able to inspire one another as companies and organisations, thereby bringing positive change to the lives of potentially tens of thousands of employees, in a surprisingly short amount of time,” stated the representative of the WeAreOpen initiative, which launched the project.

In Hungary, Auchan, BP, Prezi and CMS Cameron McKenna Law Office have also made public their diversity indicators, on Women’s Day. These figures show the ratio of women and men at their entire company in Hungary, among senior leaders and among new employees. According to international experiences, companies working in different industries must overcome various different kinds of challenges to ensure that women and men make up a balanced proportion of employees at the business; transparency and public dialogue, however, are important steps towards change, regardless of the specific industry.

A number of prominent global companies were among the first to publish what steps they would take in 2016; in Hungary, these business employ more than ten thousand people. Pledges may be made anytime during the year: the initiative welcomes additional companies that wish to join at Pledges have been received from, among others, Auchan, BP, CMS Cameron McKenna Law Office, GE Lighting, Microsoft and Morgan Stanley, and – as the first cultural institution – the Ferenczy Museum Centre in Szentendre; WeAreOpen initiative founders Prezi, espell and Google have also made pledges. Their pledges pertain to increasing the number of female managers, increasing the number of positions which may be performed through part-time work or telework, examining wage inequalities and reducing any, or programs geared toward schoolchildren and, primarily, girls. The website offers a list – of 10+1 items considered important by experts – for companies to choose from if they are willing to pledge publicly what they will work on in 2016 to ensure equal access to opportunities and equal chances for women and men in the workplace.

During the WeAreOpen initiative’s first call for public pledges last year, global corporations, startups and Hungarian businesses made over 100 public pledges. Based on the statements of companies making pledges, businesses successfully implemented an average of 7 out of 10 pledges made, and many companies will continue their efforts this year.

Media observer and analyst company Neticle, for instance, has made public internally the salaries associated with various positions at the company, allowing everyone to see what salary corresponds to each position. This was part of an effort to terminate the kind of salary inequality between women and men that is often encountered. The family enterprise Hosszúlépés. Járunk?, offering city walking tours, has had to deal with maternity leave matters for the first time since its establishment, when the owners had a baby. Right away, the company made it possible for the male colleague to participate in their own, experimental, programme and play a part in child-raising. As part of the programme, the man, for now, spends half a day, then a full day, at home each week; according to the company, not only does this help establish a more balanced sharing of the workload within the family, but it also allows the mother with the young child to return to work more easily when she would like. Large corporations have launched several internal training programmes geared specifically for women in the interest of equal opportunity; several workshops were also held for school-age girls and women entrepreneurs. Many have worked successfully to increase the number of women within the company’s management; the number of part-time and telework-compatible positions particularly favourable for parents with young children has also increased; and there are plans to develop new programmes for after maternity/paternity leave.

The founders of the WeAreOpen community initiative would like to see these public pledges and transparency become traditions among companies wishing to take action towards equal workplace opportunities for women and men. 


About WeAreOpen
The WeAreOpen initiative currently includes more than 900 companies, organisations and communities; others are welcome to join at the website WeAreOpen welcomes everyone who believes it a fundamental value that everyone should be judged solely on the basis of their actions and achievements, without regard to other characteristics.

Anyone can take a stance for openness at the website Founders of the initiative believe this is a simple, but important gesture. The community’s Facebook page provides the latest news about WeAreOpen.

This prezi provides further information on the findings of the study supporting the necessity of the initiative. 

About the survey
The survey was conducted in November 2014, and is representative of internet users in Hungary over the age of 18. The sample size was 3200 people. Questionnaires were collected using the CAWI pop-up methodology between 3 and 17 November 2014.

The survey was conducted by Gemius, which itself has joined the WeAreOpen initiative, and was supported by WeAreOpen partners Central Media Group and Origo Media Group. The Social Gender and Culture Research Centre of the Corvinus University of Budapest participated in the survey as a professional sponsor, with Neticle supporting the content analysis of the study.