The Pursuit Of Workplace Gender Equality & The Women Making It Happen

There has been a lot of progress made for women in the workforce in germs of gender equality and campaigns to highlight discrimination and inequity in order to force change. From campaigns that champion equal pay and the importance of paid leave policies, down to the #metoo movement raising awareness of how sexual harassment can have a wide-ranging impact on a woman’s career trajectory compared to a man’s career.

It’s also important to celebrate and note the women who do get into powerful and influential leadership positions who are changing the status quo, from celebrities, to notable entrepreneurs and CEOs. These are the women who are pushing for equality in immeasurable ways. Every workplace is different, but there are some common goals that can serve to help each work environment focus on making a more equal space for employees.

Let’s take a look at gender equality in the workplace to celebrate how far women have come, and how much work still needs to be done in order for women to be equal. 

What is Gender Equality? 

Gender equality is the idea that women in the workforce should have equal access to opportunity, decision-making positions, and equal pay. While gender equality is not a reality in the world today, women continue to make huge strides in business. 

Today, women make up 47% of the workforce, yet at the current rate of progress, it will still take 108 years to close the global wage gap

Companies who rank high in gender diversity are more likely to outrank their competition, and are 15% more likely to outperform national industry medians in terms of economic output.  

Challenges Women Face in the Workforce 

The challenges women face in the workforce are many. In addition to the gender pay gap, women also face unequal promotion opportunities. Only 38% of women are managers compared to 62% of men and a new report of the Fortune 500 CEOS revealed that while more women lead top companies than ever before, only 6.6% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women. Another phenomenon known as the glass cliff sees women only promoted to top positions during times of company strife, when risk of failure is greatest. 

These challenges can be attributed to the two gender biases women face at work: descriptive (labeing) and prescriptive (expected behavior). 

Women are also more likely to face harassment at work. 27% of women report that they have been sexually harassed while on the job. This harassment puts women in hostile work environments where both their performance and mental health can be negatively impacted. 

How to Achieve Gender Equality 

In order to achieve gender equality in the workplace, employers and business owners must commit to cultivating a culture that lifts up their female employees. 

Here are 5 ways you can improve gender equality in your workplace: 

  1. Build a Transparent Salary Structure: The best way to avoid the gender pay gap is to make salary information public to your employees. While this hotly debated HR topic comes with its downsides, the benefits help foster an environment where people feel equal to their counterparts. 
  2. Re-evaluate Leadership Roles: You should be recording data on who is in top positions at your company. Are only men being promoted? If so, take a look at how you are evaluating performance to make room for female decision makers, who deserve a place at the table too. 
  3. Create Mentorship Opportunities: Mentorship programs have increased the retention of women and minority workers by as much as 38%. Pair your employees up with people who can help lift them up to be the best workers they can be. 
  4. Foster an Inclusive Work Environment: Your organization needs diversity in order to be successful. If you haven’t already, establish a diversity and inclusion team at your work where inclusive ideas can be fostered, carried out, and measured. 
  5. Support Work/Life Balance: Women’s role as caretaker and mother can sometimes interfere with a concrete work schedule. Be flexible and support work life balance so your working moms can return after maternity leave. 

If your business has adopted practices to combat gender bias, let us know how it’s going! 

Read on to learn more about the obstacles women face at work from this visual created by Fundera, and get advice from 6 lady bosses on how you can combat gender inequality in your workplace today. 

Graphic credit: Fundera.com.

How to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

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