Five ways to make a woman happy

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The Independent Culture
Opportunity 2000 was founded in November 1991 by Lady Howe and a team of industry leaders as part of Business in the Community with the specific aim of seeking to change the way in which organisations work so that women are able to contribute fully to maximising performance.

From the start, it has sought to demonstrate that such activities should be seen as having a real business importance rather than as a luxury add- on. Though initial progress was slowed by the recession of the early 1990s, to date, more than 300 UK employers have signed up for the campaign.

Research conducted on behalf of the initiative by the Roffey Park Management Institute has confirmed its contention that maximising women's performance is crucial to organisational success, and identified five key areas of activity.

These are:

Demonstrating Commitment - Senior managers need to drive change from the top. They must be seen as role models in leading equal opportunities development and understanding the economic imperative for addressing such issues.

Making the Investment - Investing in future success requires resources in terms of people and time as well as money. As the campaign points out, losing people or not utilising them properly costs a business money.

Changing Behaviour - Employees at all levels need room to innovate, to maximise opportunities, to do things differently and to do them better. Practical programmes that enable women to maximise their individual performance at work will, in turn, support all professional and personal development.

Communicating Ownership - Employees need to know what both they and their organisation are aiming at and why. They also need to know what progress is being made.

Sharing Ownership - Involving everyone in developing new working methods is vital to achieving the aims. Two-way communication and working together can make a great difference.