13 Ways To Promote Gender Equality In The Workplace
Implementing gender equality in the workplace is not just a tick box task because it is the ‘right thing to do.’ But it is a matter of equal opportunity that can benefit your business. This article is all about why you need gender equality in your workplace.
Many companies commit and claim they are all about gender diversity, but has this commitment translated to meaningful implementation and progress?
Despite the world’s challenging misogyny and patriarchy, women are still paid less than their male counterparts. Moreover, due to prevalent gender biases, women workers remain an underrepresented group in leadership positions.
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It is 2021, and yet we see single-gender dominating many companies. For instance, according to the Global Gender Gap Index, the bottom 20 percent is dominated by developing countries. Meaning the participation of women in workplaces is still low compared to men.
Why is it so? Is it due to a lack of awareness? Or is it because leaders fail to recognize the reality of gender discrimination?
To find the answers, we must first understand the impact of gender equality on our workplaces and employees. But first, let’s take a look at what it means.
What is Gender Equality in the Workplace?
Before we know how to promote gender equality at work, we must understand what it means.
In simple words, gender equality in the workplace refers to equal opportunities and rights for working women, transwomen, men, and other people belonging to different gender identities.
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They must receive fair responsibilities and access every available resource in the organization. It translates as:
- Flexible work hours for everyone irrespective of their gender
- Everyone must feel safe to do their job without workplace discrimination
- Diverse employees feel safe and empowered while working with the team.
- Everyone receives equal opportunities and employee appreciation
- Eradication of gender pay gap
- Everyone gets similar training and learning opportunities within the company
- Strict company policies prohibiting sexual harassment and power abuse.
Benefits of Gender Equality in the Workplace
As a leader, you must ensure that gender equality is more than just a nice-to-have in the employee handbook. Instead, it should be actively practiced, communicated, and measured.
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Doing so will benefit your workers as well as your business. So, to make it easier for you to understand, we have mentioned some of the best benefits of gender equality and why its implementation is important.
1. Gender Equality Leads Women in Leadership Positions.
According to a study by SHL, out of 27 challenges, women excelled in 21 challenges compared to men. Hence, promoting diversity and inclusion along with leadership helps boost company performance.
2. Creates a Safe and Healthy Work Environment
Companies that implement gender equality at work create a safe and secure environment for every employee, especially women and gender minorities. Implementing workplace safety helps employees bring their best selves to work. Collaboration becomes easy, and workers do not fear discrimination in the workplace
3. Enhances Business and Company Culture
Companies with a functional diversity and inclusion program achieve greater success. When you provide equal opportunities, it attracts diverse ideas and inclusive mindsets. It enhances your company's culture while maximizing profits, employee productivity, and employee engagement.
How to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace
Let me tell you something. Women were losing jobs long before the Covid-19 pandemic happened. Historically speaking, women are more likely to lose their jobs compared to men.
As per a report, women face 54% of job losses globally while comprising only 39% of global employment.
Well, gender inequality is a trajectorial history that persists. But, in this post-modern world, we must rethink gender equality in the workplace and how to promote it.
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Let’s take a look at the 13 powerful ways to promote gender equality in the workplace.
1. Recheck Your Vacancy Announcements
Well, equality begins right from the stage of hiring and recruiting. So, you must ensure your vacancy or career page is free of discrimination. This is imperative because even a small word of discrimination can discourage many women, including LGBT individuals.
To start with:
- You can remove all the gender-binary pronouns.
- Write all your job descriptions in a gender-neutral tone using pronouns like “they/them.”
- Highlight training opportunities
- Maintain gender balance in your ads. Avoid using terms like “He will be associated with creating marketing content.”
2. Crosscheck the Interview Questions
Recruitment procedures tell a lot about your workplace culture. Thus, you must recheck all the interview questions to eradicate gender-sensitive questions. Be very critical about any questions that may bring someone's civil rights into question.
For instance, you must refrain from asking female candidates if they have plans to get married or pregnant sooner or later. Such questions hold no relevance to the positions applied, and it only portrays your apprehension towards working mothers.
3. Analyze the Ratio of Men and Women in your Organization
An important step is to analyze the ratio of male-female employees in your company. If you get to know your company comprises almost 80-90% of male workers, it is time you revamp your hiring and recruitment strategy.
Of course, depending on your industry, there will be restrictions. For example, logistics companies will hire mostly male workers but consider hiring more female workers as well.
As highlighted in PwC’s report ‘Winning the talent race,’ much research has confirmed the link between a more gender-balanced workforce in logistics and higher financial returns. Those logistics businesses with more women on the board outperform their competitors by 16% in return on sales and 26% when comparing the return on invested capital.
4. Create a Discrimination-Free Company Culture
It is a known fact, women have and are still facing workplace harassment at work. Many senior-level women workers also go through sexual harassment, but they remain silent due to stigmas attached. You must create a company culture that is bereft of stigmas and taboos.
Here’s how you can create a company culture that’s equal and fair:
- Senior managers must empower women and every other individual that falls under the gender and sexual minority category.
- Give equal flexible working hours to everyone
- Practice equal pay
- Engage in internal communication
- Embrace and promote workplace equity
- Organize workshops about gender equality in the workplace
- Give parental leaves for new mothers and single parents
- Give fair opportunities to both full time and part-time workers irrespective of their gender
5. Emphasize on Work-life Balance
Maintaining a balance between work and life is crucial, but mostly for working mothers. Give them the freedom of taking a sabbatical or remote work, and you will see a productivity improvement.
6. Say NO to Gender Pay Gap
According to the Gender Pay Gap 2020 report, women earn 19% less than their male counterparts for the same job.
While there can be many reasons for the gender pay gap, it is mostly discrimination that plays a major role. As a leader, you have the authority to put an end to such stereotypical and gender-biased practices. Regardless of gender, pay everyone the same wage for the same job responsibilities.
As a result, you will cultivate a fair corporate culture that tackles the root cause.
Meanwhile, you can position your brand as a strong advocate for women's equality. It will have a domino effect, causing other businesses to implement more gender-friendly policies.
7. Take Strict Action Against Gender-Based Harassment
Women have been subjugated, discriminated against, and ostracised for just being women, and that too, mostly by men.
It is 2021, yet some cis-men (men whose assigned sex at birth was male) do not understand the meaning of gender equality in the workplace. Hence, they keep making gender-discriminatory remarks to women and LGBTQIA folks. In such a case, the only solution is to penalize such offenders with a strict anti-harassment law.
Penalization can include-
- Immediate termination
- Salary or incentive cut
- Contract termination
- Official complaint
8. Provide Equal Learning and Development Opportunities
Training is important for every employee to understand your business and the product. So, you must ensure every employee receives equal mentoring irrespective of their gender. Women, same-sex partners, transgender persons, everyone must receive equal learning opportunities.
This is a great way to promote gender equality in the workplace.
Also, diversity training can do wonders in educating your staff about gender and equality. Hire a professional who can conduct sessions on gender issues, discrimination, and women’s rights in your workplace.
9. Reverse Sexism is just as Bad.
As a manager, you should apply equal treatment to all aspects of your job, including poor performance. When female employees perform poorly, don't coddle them or let the problem slip away. As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that every employee, including women, is giving their all.
It would be wrong to shield women employees from their mistakes, and you might appear to be engaging in reversed sexism.
Remember, you must treat everyone equally. That is the true meaning of gender equality in the workplace. Your constructive criticism is also a learning opportunity for them.
10. Give them Leadership Roles.
It has always been difficult for women to climb the ladder of success. Hence, you must recognize that women are equally capable of being great leaders. They could be the next Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa, or even the first of their name.
Women are strong-willed and determined, which makes them excellent leaders. And all of this together makes them great leaders. Jacinda Arden, the PM of New Zealand, is the perfect example of a woman in leadership. She handled an entire country to fight against Covid-19, and look at her success today!
11. Give Women a Chance
Take this as advice, let employees compete regardless of their gender. After all, we must eradicate stereotypes like men perform better than women.
Do not assign smaller projects solely to women. Rather, assign tasks based on experience and skill. Give them an equal chance to compete and let them show their knowledge and skill without inhibitions.
12. Say NO to Stereotypes
Let’s look at a few instances first:
- “You are too soft to handle this.”
- “Are you man enough to do this job.”
- “Women are gentle; they can’t do such jobs.”
- “Are you a real woman?”
We live in the 21st century, but we still hear daily derogatory remarks about women and other gender minorities. You must ensure that these stereotypes don't get repeated in your workplace.
It is a preconceived notion that women are fragile and delicate and cannot handle serious clients or lack negotiation abilities. The list of stereotypes is endless. But, your company must eradicate such stereotypes and empower women just like any other worker. This is an important step to promote gender equality in the workplace.
13. Learn from Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are done for a purpose, and progressive companies take them seriously. With the help of exit interviews, you get to know the reason why your employees leave. It is a learning opportunity for the management.
Such exit feedbacks help you identify if any discrimination had taken place, and you must make sure it does not happen again. It assists leaders in improving employee retention by identifying the reasons why talented workers are disengaged and unhappy.
Similarly, you should ask your female employees if they have experienced any discomfort due to their gender, and you should act on their feedback to ensure that your company remains discrimination-free.
Diversity and Inclusion are more than a fancy terms to add to your employee handbook. Women are marginalized when it comes to leadership and success. Hence, gender equality in the workplace is imperative for business success.
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Today, we must join hands to change the never-ending discrimination against gender minorities and shape a better work culture. Gender equality in the workplace is not a zero-sum game but a collective effort. And we believe, together, we can achieve this with a bit of support and sensibility.