9 Steps To Eradicate Gender Inequality In The Workplace
Despite all the progress we have made over the years, gender inequality in the workplace is still a reality across different countries. From unequal pay to being discriminated against and harassed- women have faced it all.
In recent years, many companies have shown their interest in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And they are achieving it by giving equal opportunities to women, black women, women of color, and LGBTQIA folks. Such instances of gender diversity are what we need to enhance employee engagement and employee retention in our workplaces.
A lack of gender equality in the workplace has become a pain point for global companies, as it can harm your business by causing employee burnout, turnover, and attrition. Therefore, business leaders must understand the importance of gender equality in their workplace.
This article will explain gender inequality and how managers can eliminate this evil by following 9 decisive steps. Let’s begin.
What is Gender Inequality in the Workplace?
An organization that promotes and practices gender equality treats men, women, transgender people, and other gender identities equally and fairly. In contrast, the opposite is gender inequality which includes a male-dominated and discriminatory work environment that treats gender minorities as unequal or inferior.
We understand that your company may have overlooked gender inequality issues due to archaic company culture, industry-specific operations, personal biases and attitudes, and so on. But now, it is time for a change.
Your company must treat every gender equally, whether men, women, or trans. Regardless of gender representation in any industry, everyone deserves equal and fair opportunities along with recognition. Some of the major equality rights are-
- Eliminating the gender pay gap and giving equal pay and benefits for all genders.
- You must consider everyone's needs equally.
- Compared to their male counterparts, you must create equal opportunities, promotions, and rewards for white women, LGTB women, black women, etc.
Also, no employee must face discrimination in the workplace because of their gender, sexuality, or for undergoing gender reassignment.
Promote Gender Equality at Work
The best way to eliminate gender inequality is by being actively vocal about it. Inequality can be hiring or training only one gender for a particular role, no benefits for pregnant mothers, or sexual harassment at work.
Gender minorities can have vivid discomforts at work. You must eliminate such discomforts and create a safe working environment for all.
Here are some simple steps to create a gender diverse and equal workplace:
- Give proper training and awareness to every employee about gender and sexuality.
- Provide childcare facilities, pregnancy benefits, and childcare support.
- Recognize the contributions of women in entry levels and spotlight women in leadership roles.
- Implement fair and equal rewards and recognition for every employee irrespective of gender, caste, race, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.
Statistics Related to Gender Inequality in the Workplace
To give you a fair idea about gender inequality, we have gathered some important statistics from a Young Women’s Trust poll listed by EquallyYours. Let’s take a look at some shocking and uncomfortable findings.
- Thirty-one percent of women earned less than their male counterparts for similar work.
- Only 8% of women have reported sexual harassment, and 15% faced it.
- 43% of mothers faced maternity discrimination.
- 52% of women face mental health issues at work, compared to 42% of men.
- Such statistics prove that gender inequality is still prevalent in workplaces, and we must stop it right now.
Examples and Signs of Gender Inequality in the Workplace
Maintaining a work-life balance is imperative for every employee, but it gets troublesome when they face discrimination and inequality at work. So, we are listing out a few examples and signs of gender inequality so that you can act on it immediately when you notice it.
- Unequal pay- The gender pay gap is a reality that companies must get rid of soon. Every employee must receive equal pay for comparable jobs.
- Biased recruitment strategy- This can have many signs, for example, favoring men over women, asking women about their marriage or children, or stereotyping gender roles for a designation.
- Unequal opportunities- every company must have equal opportunities for every employee irrespective of gender.
- Redundancy- Terminating women in the workplace (or any gender minority) for complaining about unequal treatment without getting to know the truth.
- Unconscious Bias- Showing favoritism towards a particular gender. Also if you see women are promoted less than men, making jokes about women, such instances falls under bias.
- Sexual harassment- is unethical and shameful misconduct that shouts gender inequality in the workplace, especially if it goes unnoticed and unspoken. You must say NO to sexual harassment at work and implement strict anti-harassment policies.
- Sexism- Sexism in the workplace is an example of inequality. Stereotyping, mocking, and saying women can’t do specific jobs related to labor, coding, etc. Such gender stereotypes must stop.
9 Steps to Eradicate Gender Inequality in the Workplace
According to Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the gender gap in the workplace will not reduce for the next 135 years because the pandemic has affected more women (including black women, mothers, and senior women) than men.
These are predictions, but we can change these predictions if we start taking meaningful steps to bridge the gap. So here are nine ways to eliminate gender inequality.
1. Educate everyone about unconscious gender bias
Depending on geography, different people will have different kinds of unconscious biases and prejudices about people or ethnic groups. You must give proper intensive training with the help of IAT (Implicit Association Test) to all the managers.
This will help them identify discriminatory situations and avoid such behavior towards andy minority. Also, they must voice their opinion on gender equality and promote it with enthusiasm.
2. Appoint a Diverse Recruitment Team
Your recruitment team needs to have a diverse and inclusive mindset and focus on shortlisting more women in top positions and entry-level jobs. According to research, an extended shortlist of candidates for open positions promotes gender diversity because it allows managers to think beyond stereotypes associated with a job role.
You must train your HR professionals to prepare such longer shortlists while hiring. This will work wonders for male-dominated roles and welcome more women in top positions.
Also, keep track of your recruiter’s level of diversity while screening profiles and resumes. Make sure there is no sort of discrimination right from the beginning.
3. Conduct timely audits and make salaries transparent
Ensure your company practices the rule of equal pay. Start conducting timely company-wide audits to check the salaries given to men and women in the same roles. This will take you one step closer to workplace equity and enhancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
As a leader, you must ensure no one is underpaid only because of their gender identity. And as a result, you will be able to eliminate gender inequality in the workplace.
4. Provide flexible working
The pandemic is proof that remote working is equally productive as working physically in the office. So, providing flexible working for employees is a great way to promote equality in the workplace.
Such flexibility acts as a retention strategy for women employees because it allows them to maintain a work-life balance. It is suitable for working mothers, single parents, and employees facing mental health issues.
5. Provide equal learning and development opportunities
Usually, we tend to see more men participating in development opportunities to upskill their roles. But, we want you to provide and encourage more women to learn new skills and become more technologically advanced.
A company has many benefits if they prioritize women’s advancement as it includes higher revenue growth, enhanced innovation in the workplace, and increased customer satisfaction. Also, when women receive ample opportunities in learning and development, they tend to become more confident in handling leadership roles.
6. Empower women
COVID-19 highly impacted women compared to men, and in such a scenario, organizing coaching sessions will help you empower women. This will keep them motivated and productive in the workplace.
You must provide this coaching regularly so that women and other gender minorities can build skills in leadership roles. Empowerment can happen when mentors are women themselves. It breaks the pattern of males being in a position of power and resulting in a power disparity.
7. Focus on employee wellbeing and mental health
It is time to focus on employee wellbeing and mental health issues. Many employees are subjected to stress, anxiety, and depression due to work pressure or discrimination.
You must eliminate such issues and help employees fight them to stay healthy physically and emotionally. Make mental and physical fitness a part of your company culture and build an empathetic workplace culture.
Offer personalized support to women, LGBTQIA folks, women of color, and all sorts of minorities to grow in their careers. Gender minorities face unique challenges that leaders must account for. Form support groups specific to such people and publicly advocate and promote such ventures.
8. Focus on mentor-mentee relationships
Allow your workers to participate in mentorship programs. Such mentoring programs benefit the mentor as well as the mentee.
Allow minorities and women to take up mentoring positions to enhance their leadership skills. Also, when women mentor men, it breaks gender biases, stereotypes, and misogyny at work. Such reversed gender roles signify diversity, equity, and inclusion.
9. Offer parental leaves
If not for a very long time, offer at least four months of paid parental leave. Paid time off to nurture a child has many health and career benefits. Make policies for maternal and paternal leaves and mark the minimum as four months.
Encourage men to take parental leaves as it would encourage men to spend more time with their loved ones. It is not the duty of women to raise a child, it is an equal effort. And the same ideology we must apply at work, too.
Gender bias in the workplace is an unavoidable instance yet not unconquerable. We can surely promote equality at work with an open mind and fair leadership.
Gender is a construct, and it is not just men and women. All sorts of differences make us unique, yet we must harmonize, respecting every individual for who they are.
We hope the next time you think about promoting gender diversity, you will gain help from these 9 steps to eradicate gender inequality in the workplace.