Making progress towards equality
This year has been no small feat for women: America nominated the first female Presidential Candidate for the 2016 election, the Fortune 500 featured 21 female CEOs, and NASA’s Mars team has the first equal gender representation in history. As a woman I must say, I am proud.
However, these feats can make it easy to forget about gender inequalities that still exist in the work place today, such as imbalanced maternity leave policies, pay discrepancies, and promotional inequalities.
Solving these issues is imperative to achieve gender equality, but means companies must first recognize their specific problems as actual problems.
Consider these your 2017 goals
Fairygodboss conducted a report detailing issues women have in the workplace based on anonymous data from thousands of women and third-party research. We detail their key findings below. If you’re a business owner, take notes. If you are employed, send this link to someone in management.
Clearly outline benefits, culture, and policies
Achieving gender equality in the workplace starts at the beginning of the job process — the application. Female job-seekers report that employer’s description of their culture, practices, and benefits are often ambiguous, causing them to move on and apply to more clearly defined job opportunities.
It is therefore important for businesses to include concise expectations and descriptions in their job outline, as they are understandable deciding factors for anyone applying for a job, women especially.
Enforce fair pay
Although businesses have made significant strides to close the pay gap between men and women, it’s no secret compensation inequality still remains an issue.
There are several ways for businesses to correct this issue though. Conducting a full pay audit can shine light on any disparities. If a business can’t afford a pay audit, they should at least ensure and encourage consistent pay across the same job titles.
Diversity gender in management
Diversifying management along with other decision making positions can increase women’s job satisfaction. If your team is lacking in diversity, consider investing in some changes to better reflect your company culture and priorities.
Ensure women are promoted just as much men
Along with pay inequality, promotional discrepancies between men and women in the workplace exist. Women don’t typically move up the hierarchical ladder as fast or equally as men. To improve business practices, companies should reevaluate their promotion and succession plans to ensure everyone has access to the same advancement opportunities.
Improve maternity and parental leave procedures
Women with young children often leave the workforce to raise their children full-time. Reentering the workplace after such absence can be difficult. Businesses should include policies that allow ample time away after childbirth. Displaying such commitment to something as natural and necessary exemplifies that a business cares about supporting women and families.
Maintain flexibility and work-life balance
Women have reported being unhappy with official policies as they relate to work-life balance and flexibility. This doesn’t mean companies should give everyone three-day weekends, but they should utilize and outline a well thought-out flexibility plan that leaves their employees satisfied, while also attracting qualified talent.
Create mentorship and sponsorship opportunities
Access to senior leadership is an issue I’ve personally experienced along with other women across the country. We may see senior executives in the break room or in passing, but accessing them for career advice or opportunities seems almost impossible.
To alleviate such alienation from senior staff, businesses should consider enforcing formal programs to encourage mentorship, sponsorship, and an overall support system regardless of gender.
Demand the same fairness from other business relationships
It is illogical for a company who supports gender equality to do business with other companies and vendors who do not. Demanding the same respect and diversity from other business relationships will not only help to achieve gender equality, but also demonstrate to women employees and potential candidates both male and female how serious equality is, and how unwavering the company’s morals are.
Include men in the conversation
Gender equality in the workplace symbolizes unity and harmony which is unobtainable without the input and help of our male counterparts. While many men support gender diversity, they are understandably unaware of the biases and issues women face daily.
Honest conversations, brainstorming, and interaction between female and male peers will help businesses on their journey of gender fairness.
You can view the full report here.