Creating gender equality in the workplace is not just a goal within the United Kingdom, it is a worldwide goal and one that is a centre of focus in organisations such as the United Nations.
While this is obviously a very lofty and noble goal, it is often more challenging to translate global goals by unconnected organisations to what is going on in your company. To make it more challenging, much of the gender inequality seen today is institutionalised as part of the workplace culture.
1. Make Equality a Priority
There are ways to work towards gender equality from inside any company. Each employee, both female and male, can set goals to contribute to changing the workplace and developing a true culture that respects all employees equally for their contributions.
However, it will also take an effort by management to accomplish these goals. Companies need to create a workplace that is user-friendly for both male and female employees, and there are companies that have been extremely successful in developing these practices. Diversity, equality and recognition of the individual’s strengths and talents are the hallmarks of a successful business.
2. Having Conversations
Having respectful and meaningful conversations that define gender equality as well as identify areas of deficit in a department, division or throughout a company is a very important first step. After all, it is impossible to make changes and to see results if the goals are not articulated and clear.
Leaders in the workplace speaking out and asking to have policy discussions can be helpful. Often managers, particularly in predominantly male workplaces, may not realise there is a lack of equality. Engaging in these conversations in staff meetings and professional development events will build a culture that eliminates institutional bias.
Managers and those in leadership positions need to support and facilitate these discussions. This may mean bringing in consultants and trainers to help develop an understanding of gender discrimination and what needs to change. Career-Mums can help employers in training, consultation and in developing workplace gender equality goals and plans.
3. Identify Strengths
Women often have difficulty in speaking up about their strengths and abilities in the workplace. Knowing where you can offer leadership, skills and knowledge that is empowering for you which will also clearly demonstrate your capabilities and professionalism.
Employers and managers should make a point of ensuring that workplaces, teams and groups are comprised of both males and females. Using skill based team development will ensure that employees are assigned to groups in ways that add to the performance of the group as a whole as well as the individual rather than based on gender.
4. Hiring Practices
Often the hiring practices of a company create an imbalance in the pool of employees. Specific types of language used in advertisements and job posting may be biased towards men, which is limiting the response from qualified female applicants.
Overall, highly detailed job listings tend to favour male applicants while general information on the job responsibilities is more likely to result in both male and female applicants.
Reviewing the language and style of job postings and where the jobs are listed will provide a better response from all qualified applicants for most businesses. Job listing sites online tend to have a more male or female based reader demographic. For qualified female applicants, select websites that are viewed by women or work with our team at Career-Mums to help in bringing in the female applicants you are missing.
5. Eliminate the Wage Gap
Finally, and this is always a critical consideration, review your equality of pay, whether you are affected by the gender pay gap legislation or not. Employers with more that 250 employees, from the 6th April will be required to report the gap between male and female staff including any bonuses received. In many businesses and companies, women are paid significantly lower for the same work, discouraging applicants. This gap, as reported by the Equal Pay Portal, can be as much as 20 percent within top earners and just over 18 percent when full and part-time employment is considered.
By bringing wages into line between the genders, highly qualified women are incentivised to return work. Encouraging shared parental leave and childcare support will also enable women and men the same chance to balance a career and home life. This is a benefit to companies and overall business, creating a more dynamic and effective workplace with a highly-qualified workforce. Career-mums can help you devise your organisational goals and translate this into practical action planning to save you both time and money and improve your overall gender diversity www.career-mums.co.uk/employers.