You might think gender inequality in the workplace is a thing of the past. But it’s still prevalent in many companies today.
What is gender equality?
Gender equality is about treating people fairly, no matter what gender they are, and it is a fundamental human right.
Gender equality is necessary to enable a harmonious, prosperous and sustainable workplace. When you ensure gender equality, you make sure employees won’t face any sort of prejudice or intolerance because of their gender and that everyone can come to work and feel safe, respected and able to do their jobs without fear of discrimination.
Does gender inequality still exist?
Yes! There are many different forms of gender inequality still occurring in the workplace, including:
- Sexual harassment
- Bullying because of gender
- Pay differences
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Maternity discrimination
Undoubtedly, progress has been made in the last few decades, but we’re not on track to achieve worldwide gender equality anytime soon. For example, women are still drastically underrepresented in leadership roles. In fact, only 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
Of course, it’s not just the gender inequalities between men and women that should be considered. It’s essential to think about the rights of any transgender, gender fluid or non-binary people in your organization too.
Busting the myths and creating gender equality.
Unfortunately, many myths and falsehoods support biases and inequality.
For example, if a woman doesn’t yet have children, it shouldn’t be assumed that she’s planning to start a family. And, even if she is, that doesn’t mean she’ll contribute less once she has kids or that she should be treated any differently than her male equivalent.
There are many other myths and biases – conscious and unconscious – that are regularly leveraged to justify discriminating against women, and none of them are valid.
Women want to work for companies that support and promote them.
Most women don’t want to settle for working somewhere that doesn’t value the importance of an equitable, supportive and inclusive workplace. Consequently, companies that don’t take action and strive for gender equality risk losing their current and the next generation of female leaders.
What does gender equality look like at work?
As a business, it’s crucial to demonstrate equal treatment of everyone within your organization, no matter what gender they are. This includes:
- Equal pay and benefits for comparable roles
- Equal consideration of needs
- Equal opportunities for progression and promotion
Creating gender equality in your organization is essential to establishing an inclusive work culture where your employees can thrive, and their achievements are celebrated, regardless of gender.
Gender equality requires formal policies and informal practices. And gender equality must be promoted and demonstrated from the top down.
How can you celebrate Gender Equality Month at work?
Gender Equality Month takes place every March and is an opportunity to celebrate women's social, political, cultural and academic achievements worldwide.
Gender Equality Month is also a chance to raise awareness against gender bias in society and help eradicate those biases by educating employees on the indispensable role women play at work, in their homes, in their communities and throughout society.
There are many ways you can celebrate Gender Equality Month in your workplace. Here are a handful of suggestions:
1. Highlight the amazing stories of the women in your organization.
Publicly demonstrate your appreciation for the achievements of your female employees and the hard work they put into the business. For women in your company who have worked their way up to senior roles, create case studies to highlight their career paths and inspire other women to do the same and find similar success.
Note: A picture of all your women leaders posted on social media is different from amplifying the impressive stories of your women.
2. Read up about the equality struggle.
Encourage your employees to learn about the extensive and complex history of the struggle for equality. Share stories about the sacrifices and efforts of marginalized groups and the key milestones they’ve reached to gain gender equality.
Consider hosting a class on gender equity for your team, or inject some fun into the holiday by creating a quiz on gender equality and significant achievements contributed by women.
3. Encourage more conversations about gender equality.
You likely have a wealth of experience among your employees regarding encounters with gender bias and discrimination. So, positively use these experiences by creating a safe space and encouraging more conversations about equality.
Uncomfortable conversations are an important step in creating gender equality, because people need to learn from one another’s experiences to understand the challenges they’ve faced.
4. Conduct a compensation audit.
Gender equality requires action, and that includes pay parity. Use this year’s Gender Equality Month to conduct a compensation audit and make adjustments if needed.
Pay parity is a great retention tool, because pay parity shows that you’re prioritizing equality. And though publicity should not be the primary reason to create pay parity, many companies have benefitted publicly by creating pay parity.
5. Educate people about the importance of gender equality.
We know you’re busy. That’s why we created Electives. Our platform streamlines the planning, curation, logistics and measurement, so you can deliver better quality learning – on important topics like gender equality – with less effort.