International Women’s Day every 8th of March is the best time for businesses to revisit their management practices and ensure they’re taking all the possible measures to uplift women's empowerment in the workplace.
This year’s #EmbraceEquity theme couldn’t be more appropriate in addressing issues of harassment, exploitation, discrimination, and unfair treatment based on sex and gender. It also applies to ensuring that every employee is on a level playing field when it comes to career growth opportunities.
Explore ways to promote gender equity in organisations to encourage fresh and innovative ideas without gender barriers impeding collaborations in the workplace.
First, it’s important to differentiate gender equity from gender equality. These terms are often used interchangeably. While they both promote fairness for all, their nuances differ in helping everyone achieve their goals freely and fairly.
Gender equality means that a person's rights, responsibilities, and opportunities will not be determined by their sex or gender. Meanwhile, gender equity is exhibiting equality based on each individual's unique needs.
Here’s an illustration to help you understand the concept better:
In any workplace, the importance of training and development for employees to understand the overall business is huge. Therefore, receiving equal mentoring and guidance should be a priority, irrespective of gender.
Conducting diversity training is an excellent way to both promote gender equity at work and educate your staff about its importance. This training session should include a variety of topics, such as gender bias, discrimination, and women’s rights in the workplace.
In a traditional workplace setting, men and women are often clustered in different groups of jobs.
For instance, technical roles are assigned to men, whereas women are chosen for administrative roles. This creates a range of issues, such as gender bias, favouritism, and specific gender expectations for certain assignments.
Some of the best ways to limit these biases and embrace equity include:
While the world has come far in terms of providing equal opportunities for women, there’s still more to do. Especially since issues involving pay gaps still puts women at a disadvantage to this day. Around the world, women are paid about 20% less than men on average.
Pay disparity and the gender gap are two of the most common and recurring issues in the workplace. They are often catalysts for discrimination, bias, and ongoing lawsuits. Employers need to be fully transparent about wages and ensure that women aren’t receiving less pay than men in equivalent roles.
There’s no better way to rally behind the women empowerment movement than seeing to it that capable women are equitably recognised in succession planning.
Hold ongoing conversations about various advancement prospects and career goal settings for everyone during performance review sessions. Encourage the women in the organisation to pursue different opportunities at every stage of their careers.
Promoting women equally as men shows that you’re committed to building a workplace where women have equal chances to grow their skills and potential.
Your business should be a place where all employees feel safe and seen. It’s important to create a culture that fosters a sense of belongingness and acceptance.
Dedicate steps to making inclusivity a priority in all aspects of your business. Be intentional in recruiting people with diversity already in mind. Host activities that’ll encourage everyone to spend time with one another outside of work. The bond will help spark conversations and allow them to share their experiences.
Building an inclusive workplace is continuously a work in progress. Encourage people to provide their feedback through discussions, surveys, and more. This will give you ideas on what more you can do to make the workplace a more comfortable space for everyone.
According to a study, 1 in 5 employees has experienced physical, psychological, and sexual abuse in the workplace. Men are more vulnerable to physical violence, while women are more affected by sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, only half of these incidents were disclosed to another person and only after they happened. This makes it important for organisations to pay more attention to creating strict policies for offences such as sexual harassment, racism, and bullying.
If any such offences are reported, the company should take strict and quick action against the offenders to avoid similar incidents in the future. Ignorance of such harassment indicates management tolerance and apathy towards abuse.
Women generally find it difficult to keep pace with their career goals due to a lack of a support system in their respective organisations when it comes to child care arrangements.
This contributes significantly towards a drop in female labour force participation rates. Some of the ways to help women navigate this challenge include:
While having a supportive network is important for every employee in a workplace, it can be especially beneficial for women striving for success in a male-dominated industry.
The best way for businesses to build a supportive network and embrace equity for women in the workplace is by establishing robust mentorship programs or dedicated employee resource groups.
Such initiatives don't only empower women but also create an inclusive work environment where everyone feels that they belong.
It's important to conduct gender inclusion training programs regularly to inculcate the value of supporting, uplifting, and respecting each other in the workplace.
These sessions will help employees identify and prevent gender biases if any. This should especially involve decision-makers on employee promotions, pay increments, and appointments. Make sure to set clear goals and clarify why your employees need gender equality training.
Despite the modern world’s emphasis on diversity and equality, there are still workplace barriers that still continues to affect women. The leadership in any organisation needs to fully aware of gender disparities before any significant change can happen.
These are some important tips to help businesses make gender equity a top priority. This doesn’t only benefit women, but it also provides equal access, resources, rewards, and opportunities for all.