Companies with more women among their most-compensated staff have more favorable employee attitudes. That often happens when at least one-third of ladies are among the 10% highest-paid executives.
Applying gender equality in the workplace won’t be a tick-box task since it is right. But, it is a matter of equal opportunities that will benefit your business.
Companies will claim to be all about gender diversity, but is there a meaningful implementation and progress?
Gender equality at the office is indispensable to your business success. Despite the challenging global patriarchy, women still receive lesser pay than their male counterparts.
Also, due to gender biases, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions. It is 2022, and we still see a single gender dominating most companies.
According to the Global Gender Index research, developing countries dominate the bottom 20%. That means the representation of women in these countries is lower than that of men.
Why is it like that? Is it because of a lack of awareness? Or, do companies fail to realize the impact of gender discrimination in the workplace?
Keep reading to know how to promote gender equality in the workplace.
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What Is Gender Equality?
Before knowing how to promote gender equality, let us first comprehend the relationship between gender and work.
In simple words, gender equality refers to equal rights and opportunities for working women and men.
We value both men’s and women’s needs equally. Note we often discuss gender equity and gender equality simultaneously for that reason.
Society favors men, and they have many advantages. Equity fills in that gap so everybody can catch up to men.
Also, all genders must receive fair responsibilities and access to every available resource at work. That all translates as:
• Everyone has flexible work hours irrespective of gender
• Everyone feels safe to work without gender discrimination in the workplace
• Diverse employees feel empowered and safe when working with the team
• Employee appreciation and equal opportunities
• Removal of gender pay gaps
• Similar learning and training opportunities in the company
• Having strict company policies that prohibit power abuse and sexual harassment
Gender equality makes everyone feel safe to pursue the same job without the fear of discrimination. That makes people across teams work together hence collaborating equally.
The institution treats staff members fairly and with respect. The staff also has equal opportunities for career progression and promotions.
But, the effect of the pandemic may reverse the progress on gender equality for women’s rights. COVID-19 aggravates existing inequalities for women across the globe. That is from the economy, health, security, and social protection.
Despite the progress through the decades, gender inequality remains distant. Research shows that it will take a century to close the global pay gap.
Components of Gender Inequality at Work
Both men and women may face issues about gender inequality in the workplace. Though, women always deal with this issue more than men.
We identify gender inequality at work through these components:
The wage gap persists to be a massive part of gender inequality at work. We characterize the pay gap by one gender receiving less pay for doing the same job as the other gender.
Usually, you will notice women having less pay than men, even though they have similar work experience and hold the same position.
According to census data, women in the US receive 82 cents for each dollar men receive as compensation for the same work.
There is also a gender leadership gap. Companies often pass up most women for promotion opportunities. That is due to gender discrimination in the workplace.
Research shows that there are many qualified women to fill leadership gaps. But, gender bias prevents them from progressing to those positions.
Addressing this at your workplace requires you to support growth opportunities for each employee. You have to widen your recruitment networks and also examine your favoritisms.
Male employers will indeed choose to hire male employees in most cases. Also, it is likely for hiring managers to click on male application profiles instead of women’s.
Through a gender experiment, where a male employer was hiring employees, women had only a 40% chance of receiving the job.
That means women are at a disadvantage from the beginning of the hiring process. Even if they have the same experience, skill, and qualifications, they have a disadvantage.
There will be a variation of gender inclusion depending on your business. But, excluding someone from meetings and decision-making due to their gender is inequality.
When you do not include an individual in events or tasks, it may prevent them from being productive and successful at work.
Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
There is ample evidence that employers discriminate against women. Employers are more likely to hire a man than a woman with the same skills.
But, the discrimination is not due to gender-specific stereotypes or animus. Learning these biases may be helpful in training recruiters to work around them.
Faces of Discrimination
Gender discrimination runs through most workplaces. In many industries, ladies are less likely to advance to top positions in their fields.
Women make up only 4.2% of CEOs at S&P companies and only 19.2% of board members. Here are the two types of gender discrimination:
Statistical discrimination – We see it in the beliefs about average gender differences by skills and ability.
Taste-based discrimination – It’s through stereotyping, biases against a group, and favoritism.
With statistical discrimination, people have certain beliefs about women versus men and what they can do at work. Given those beliefs, you pick the person you think is the best for that position.
You act in a way you feel will maximize your profits.
With taste-based discrimination, you know that a person possesses the needed skills for productivity. But, you sacrifice that by not hiring that person.
Note that statistical discrimination is harder to get rid of at workplaces. Taste-based discrimination is bad if you have a bias against women and do not want to hire them at your business.
But, statistical discrimination is thornier and harder to root out. That is so because people act on beliefs on the average differences in the abilities between men and women. People in charge of hiring may not know they act on those beliefs.
Hold discussions about the beliefs your staff holds. That helps them to understand the factors shaping their hiring decisions. You also get to figure out whether you are comfortable with these factors playing a role.
Also, candidates must be aware that the hiring staff may have ideas about the average difference in ability between men and women. So, the applicants have to provide information that will help outweigh some beliefs the employers believe.
When an employer believes you are a member of a lower-performing group, that will impact your job position.
Causes of Gender Equality Issues
Nowadays, we see a better representation of women in economic opportunities and politics. Research shows that we will take another century before gender equality becomes a reality.
SO, what pushes the gap between genders? Here are the causes of gender inequality:
Division of jobs is one cause of gender inequality at the workplace. People believe that men are better at handling specific tasks in many societies.
In most cases, the tasks are the highest-paying ones. There is a lower income for women due to that discrimination.
Also, women will take primary responsibility for unpaid labor. That makes it difficult for employers to recognize them financially even though they do extra work.
Uneven Access to Education
Ladies still have less access to education than men. Also, ¼ of young women aged 15-24 are likely not to complete primary school.
That makes up to 58% of individuals not finishing the basic education. We get that, of the world’s illiterate people, women are 2/3 that number.
Lack of Employment Equality
Only about six countries worldwide give ladies the same legal work privileges as men. Most economies only give women ¾ the privileges of men.
A recent study shows that if employees were more even, it would positively affect areas prone to gender inequality.
Lack of Legal Protection
According to World Bank research, over one billion women do not have legal protection against domestic or sexual violence.
Both violence has a huge impact on women’s ability to live and thrive in freedom. There is a lack of legal representation against harassment in schools, public, and workplaces in most countries.
The places are unsafe and lack protection; hence women often make decisions that limit and compromise their goals.
Poor Medical Care
On top of limited access to contraception, women often receive lower-quality medical care than men. We link that to other gender inequality reasons like a lack of job opportunities.
That results in more women living in poverty. Women are less likely to afford good healthcare. Most ladies also experience discrimination and dismissal by their doctors.
The negative experiences broaden the gender gap in healthcare quality.
Lack of Bodily Autonomy
Most women around the globe don’t have authority over their bodies or when to become parents. Access to birth control is often difficult.
According to WHO, over 200 million women don’t want to get pregnant but are not using contraception. Reasons behind this include limited access, cultural or religious opposition, and a lack of options.
On a global scale, there are about 40% of unplanned pregnancies. While 50% of the pregnancies end in abortions, 38% always end in births.
The mothers often depend on other people financially, hence losing their freedom.
Lack of Religious Freedom
Women always suffer the most once people attack religious freedom. According to research, extremist ideologies like ISIS can get into a community. They restrict religious freedom, which makes gender inequality worsen.
Researchers link religious intolerance with women’s ability to participate in the economy. Also, once there is more religious freedom, the economy thrives and becomes stable due to women’s participation.
It is incomprehensible to debate gender inequality without looking at racism. Racism affects what jobs women of color can get and the amount of payment they will receive.
Also, it affects how legal and healthcare systems view women of color. European settlers in Virginia used to tax work, basing it on the women’s race performing the task.
African women’s work was labor, so it was taxable, but English women’s work was domestic, hence not taxable. The pay gaps continue the legacy of discrimination and contribute to gender inequality.
Social mindset is less tangible than other causes of gender inequality on this list. But, the holistic mindset of society impacts gender inequality.
How society will determine the values and differences of Women VS. Men will play a starring role in every arena. That could be in legal systems, healthcare, or employment.
Beliefs about gender run deep. Though progress can be through laws and structural changes, there is always a pushback after times of major change.
It is common for people to ignore areas of gender inequality. That is so when there is progress like better representation for women in leadership.
Such types of mindsets bring about gender inequality and also delay significant change.
Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace
Gender equality practices will benefit both your employees and your business. Diversity will also encourage new opinions, ideas, and perspectives to shine in your corporation.
As a result, your team becomes more innovative and solves problems faster and more efficiently. It is vital to note that your company’s commitment to gender equality will influence how people perceive your brand.
A modern workforce will not tolerate discrimination based on gender. Also, customers rally behind brands that promote gender equality.
If you are looking to have a happier workforce, here are tips to aid you in promoting gender equality in your organization:
Increase Diversity in Hiring
Begin by promoting gender equality through modification of your job descriptions. Take time to review your job descriptions to see areas you have to alter to broaden the applicants’ pool.
For instance, if a job requires 15 years of experience, see whether ten years would be enough. See whether some types of experiences can qualify applicants for senior-level positions.
Think carefully about the job description’s language. For instance, words like dominant and assertive are likely to attract more men than women.
Make sure your hiring panel is gender diverse. Also, ensure you have fair compensation practices. Use your employee exit interviews to have feedback on their perception of gender equality in your workplace.
Start a Pay Audit
Consider conducting a pay audit to notice if male and female employees receive comparable payments. That makes you know if you offer equal employment opportunities to all.
The best way is to seek aid from HR professionals or do it yourself by using a spreadsheet. Have sections for education, employment position, performance, and experience on the spreadsheet.
That helps you in identifying gender pay gaps. After identifying the gender pay gaps, consider taking steps to remedy them fast.
Review Equal Pay Laws
Take time to review the federal equal pay law. Also, review state laws if necessary. Most laws state that you need to provide equal pay for equal work as an employer.
That also includes the same skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. Note areas to improve in your organization about equal pay for equal work.
Then, develop policies relating to equal pay in the code of conduct.
Reverse Pay Secrecy Policies
Pay secrecy policies can lead to inconsistencies with the gender pay gap and, at times, may be illegal. When employees discuss salary information, they will be more aware of gender inequalities at work.
Besides, you can publish salary data. Sharing salary information with your employees will assure them fair pay. That also informs them that gender pay equality is a priority.
Various companies publish pay brackets outlining salary for each role in the company. The step eliminates any bias.
Update Your Training
Consider reviewing your training on gender inequality and discrimination. Check the current training program to know if the programs are informative enough to impact the behavior of employees.
Also, make gender inequality training mandatory at least once a year. That way, the info is at the forefront of employees’ minds, reflecting them in their actions.
You should have regular management courses. That ensures the company is providing a good working environment for all.
Create an Open-Minded Environment
Also, promote a culture where your employees feel appreciated because of their talent and performance. Note that this starts at the managerial level.
Know your team members personally regardless of their background and gender. That deepens your appreciation for differences and promotes a welcoming and inclusive workplace.
Promote a Work-Life Balance
Parents often find it difficult to reach their career goals due to raising a family. Various companies offer parental leaves for both mothers and fathers to relieve stress for working parents.
Also, your workplace flexibility is something people will look at when considering work for your company. The option is more appealing for parents who need the flexibility to balance their careers and raise children.
Most companies are now addressing this by offering their employees options to work remotely.
Keeping Accurate Documentation
Document all your employees’ pay, education, work experience, position, and qualifications. Note that there will be many times an employee will deserve a larger payment.
But, you are responsible for making the distinctions by basing them on some concrete evidence.
Having an Inclusive Culture
Gender equality should be within your organizational culture. That ensures all employees’ representation.
Occasionally, you ought to make changes to establish a culture free from gender discrimination. That begins by having your top-level leaders commit to promoting gender equality.
The leaders should exemplify that also when hiring executives. It is crucial to remind your workers to use gender-neutral language to avoid alienating employees.
For instance, they can use pronouns like “them” and “they” in official business communications. Also, encourage your managers to provide employees with equal responsibilities.
Improve Gender Equality Awareness
It is vital to conduct continuous gender inclusion training programs. That establishes a positive work environment.
Your employees support, uplift, and respect each other. The training will help employees to identify and overcome any unconscious biases.
The biases may influence major decision-making in your business. Over time, the lack of decisions will prevent employees from progressing due to their gender.
Note, you may not realize these biases, and that’s where awareness comes in. Make gender equality training mandatory for everyone in the organization.
The training includes people who help decide pay increments, promotions, and appointments. Consider setting clear goals to clarify why your employees need gender equality training.
Create Firm Anti-Harassment Rules
You need to put in place some strict anti-harassment policies. That ensures no employee goes through disrespect, mistreatment, exploitation, harassment, and discrimination.
Your organization should be a safe place for all to thrive. While coming up with the policy, it is nice to mention the plan’s aim, the definition of harassment and discrimination. Also, state the consequences of not obliging to the policy.
Also, the policy should state how your employees should report acts of misconduct. Ensure that all employees sign the agreement to policy’s terms when onboarding.
Ensure confidentiality whenever an employee reports harassment. Also, form a panel of unbiased people to investigate the issue.
Consider Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace
Promoting gender equality in the workplace enables employees to grow and does a lot of good for your organization. Once employees are true to who they are, they will bring more authentic and creative energy to their roles.
Gender equality at work will promote morale and teamwork, which pushes your organization to even greater heights.