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O2 launches Women in the Workplace campaign

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Businesses in the UK have to do more to support the career development and family responsibilities of their female staff members, according to a study by O2.

The telecommunications company has launched a campaign entitled Women in the Workplace, which aims to challenge the current work practices of British firms so that female employees have a better chance of getting ahead.

In order to support the movement, O2 has published a study of more than 2,000 working women, which shows that almost half of them – 47 per cent – believe it is “impossible” to be successful at work and in their family life at the same time.

On top of this, more than a third of females (37 per cent) said they have experienced discrimination in the workplace, while one in ten say their office environment is heavily male dominated.

This has prompted female employees to assume more masculine characteristics in order to try and get ahead, including hiding emotions (50 per cent), dressing in a more male manner (23 per cent) and being more assertive (12 per cent).

However, O2 believes women should not have to go to these lengths in order to climb up the career ladder – instead, more training and support should be given to working mothers.

Telefonica UK’s HR director Ann Pickering said firms must sit up and take notice, as having a diverse workforce makes “complete business sense”.

“These results should act as a wake-up call for businesses to ensure they don’t miss out on the valuable contribution that women can make to their organisations,” she added.

Implementing flexible working incentives is one way in which female members of staff can juggle their career with their home life, as they can organise their day to suit their needs without having to waste time travelling to and from the office.

In addition to this, businesses are urged to offer regular mentoring and training sessions to ensure female members of staff have the necessary skills to gain more senior roles within the company.