3 Ways To Stop Gender Inequality In The Workplace

How To Stop Gender Inequality In The Workplace

Gender inequality in the workplace goes beyond low numbers of women in the C-suite and boardroom. In fact, women’s disadvantage starts long before reaching the executive level:

Corporate America promotes men at 30% higher rates than women during their early career stages, and entry-level women are significantly more likely than men to have spent five or more years in the same role.” [1]

This disparity is slowly changing for the better, but not quickly enough. That’s why companies today need to reevaluate their policies and processes relating to inclusion and promote confidence in female employees.

Gender disparity can be harder to spot than you’d think, and it’s incredibly pervasive. Are your managers unintentionally putting your female employees at a disadvantage? Are you creating sufficient, open opportunities for both male and female colleagues to aim for a promotion? Are your recruiting policies defined on gender equality and providing transparency on ambitions for staff demographics?

Read on for four strategies to improve gender equality in your workplace.

1. Drive Skills Development Equally

There’s a false belief that men are advancing to higher pay grades and sustaining the wage gap because they are more qualified. This is not the case. “Women are hitting the glass ceiling earlier than people realize”, said Rachel Thomas, president of LeanIn, a group founded by Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg. “Men are off to the races and women are starting to see hurdles right out of the gate.” [2]

In some cases, this disparity is the result of differing ambitions and definitions of success. Women have been taught to strive for different things, and until that changes, they may find themselves choosing career paths that are safer and more secure. This does not make these roles less important. When you’re investing in developing the skills of your team, don’t restrict it to the people who you consider to be doing the “hardest” or “riskiest” jobs. That approach can unintentionally widen the gender gap. Instead, offer employees at every level and in every department an opportunity to improve.

Investing in your employees simply means developing their skills and doing it equally.

2. Create Role Models

In some organizations, women have few role models to look up to. They can lose faith when they don’t see people like themselves advancing to leadership positions. A 2017 study by Grant Thornton shows that globally, women hold an average of 25% of senior management roles and only 12% of CEO roles.

A push for more women at the helm can have a trickle down effect that inspires other women to aspire to the executive level. Take Susan Wojcicki, for example, the CEO of YouTube [3]. As a computer science graduate from Harvard and Google’s 16th employee, she earned her way up the tech ladder. Now, she runs one of the world’s most innovative companies. Wojcicki has been at the forefront of advocating for equality and inclusion at YouTube: “We’ve supported underrepresented groups, established a C-level Leadership Diversity Council, and ramped up our female hiring—since I joined in 2014, we’ve gone from a company that is 24% women to one that’s nearly 30% [4].” Implementing mentoring programs that show employees their worth and encourage them to strive for the next step will lead to a stronger and more empowered team.

Knowing a second (or third!) language can open professional doors. Learn more.

3. Eliminate Gender-Based Roles

Take a look at your organization’s values. Do they include the unique assets that women can bring to the table? The When Women Thrive Report found that women have unique strengths in areas that are critical to advancing business, such as adaptability and inclusive team management [5]. Of course, men may have these attributes as well. It is to an organization’s greatest advantage to place employees in positions where their strengths will shine, instead of in roles based on gender. Business leaders can place value on individual women’s unique strengths and abilities and work to develop them across leadership roles.

Closing the gender gap starts with looking at the way your organization develops all employees, and making sure you provide equal opportunity from entry level onwards. Women are a critical part of the workforce—and when women do well, organizations do well. Providing training in specialized skills and recognizing the power women bring to your organization will help you advance in a competitive landscape. It doesn’t just benefit your company and its stakeholders—it benefits the world we live in, too.

Speexx helps organizations develop their employees with language coaching, virtual classrooms, customized workshops and more.

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References

  1. Women in the Workplace 2016
  2. Women hit the glass ceiling early in businesses, study says
  3. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki On Confidence, Women In Tech And Why She Convinced Google To Buy YouTube
  4. Exclusive: How To BReak Up The Silicon Valley Boys' Club
  5. 2016 Global When Women Thrive Report
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