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A post-pandemic mission for equality

01 March 2021

After decades of making great strides in terms of gender equality, Esther Park warns that the biggest shockwave the world has experienced in peace time is threatening to force a slamming on of the breaks in the cleaning sector.

RESEARCH FROM the end of 2020 revealed that women were more likely than men to have lost work because of the pandemic, with a third having to give up their roles due to a lack of childcare options. This rose to 44% amongst BAME mothers.

This year’s International Women’s Day is drawing nearer, giving us an opportunity to celebrate women's achievements, increase visibility, and call out inequality. Given the events of the last 12 months, it’s more important than ever that we look at the role we each play in this mission – as individuals and as businesses – to ensure the cleaning industry remains a fair and equal place to work beyond coronavirus.

Reaffirm commitments to inclusivity
These have been unusual times, and as a sector we’ve had to take charge and deliver on our responsibility to use cleaning to keep people safe. But as we return to normality, steps must be taken to ensure that females are empowered to return to the sector in a variety of roles, so we can continue in our charge to remain equal.

Unify is playing a key role in this mission, with a 60% female vs 40% male gender split in our business, we know it’s important to ensure we give women plenty of opportunities to join our business and progress at all levels.

We want to ensure the cleaning sector is one which prioritises career development, invests in its people and is ahead of the curve when it comes to recruitment trends. And a lot of this comes down to creating positive attitudes and aspirations amongst the people we’re working with.

Simple, practical steps
We are committed to building an inclusive business where everyone is able to bring their true selves to work. Some simple steps can give you a strong foundation to build a culture that is fair and equal.

In Unify, we are doing this by:

  • Assessing all our job adverts to ensure they are gender neutral and encourage a wide range of applications
  • Providing unconscious bias training to our people managers
  • Working with our people to provide flexibility in their role. We know that people have lives outside of work and when things change, we'll work with people to flex working hours, locations and even roles
  • Encouraging every member of the Unify team to set their own goals and find ways to remove any barriers that stand in their way.

Our belief is that by taking ownership of your own path – wherever you want it to lead – nothing will ever be out of your reach. You’re a product of the people you surround yourself with, and by what you enable yourself to learn.

By seeing our business as a collective force, with an employer that truly prioritises equality of opportunity, we hope that everyone feels empowered to achieve anything they set their mind to.

We’re in this together
We can’t allow the pandemic to press pause on what we have all collectively worked hard to achieve for so many years. As other industries across the UK start to rebuild, they will be putting cleaning front and centre of their recovery operations; there’s no denying that there is a better understanding of the role it plays in our lives. And when it affects everybody, it should be delivered by everybody.

We’ll continue to put that front and centre of how we work.