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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace


Gender diversity (the representation of men and women in the workplace) has over the past couple of decades become a pertinent issue on organisational agendas. The debate around issues of gender diversity, equity and inclusion has subsequentlywarranted different and often heated debates. Tracking the evolution of gender discourse, one will note how it has shifted from normative (ethnocentric) views, tomoral/ethical obligations, to legislative imperatives, economic consideration and most recently to the humanistic proclivity for inclusion.


To tackle this issue, companies are taking concrete steps to (1) create greater gender diversity within the different levels and occupations of the company, (2) to create strategies, structures, policies and procedures to ensure fair and equitable gender practices, and (3) promote an inclusive and collaborative culture wherein the different genders feel welcomes, embraced and valued. 


Research, in support of the business case for gender diversity, suggest that more equal representation of women in the workplace can have positive effects across the entire organisation. Some of these advantages are as follows: 


  1. A wider talent pool: Companies that don’t encourage women to join them are missing out on the talents and abilities of half the population. Tapping into these can make a huge difference to your productivity and your bottom line.

  2. Different perspectives: Having both women and men in your teams means you benefit from the different points of view and approaches that come from different life experiences.

  3. A multiplicity of perspectives can spark creativity and innovation, and help organizations spot and seize new opportunities. It can also encourage organizations to challenge gender stereotypes.

  4. Enhanced collaboration: Having women on teams can help improve team processes and boost group collaboration. Researchers have for instance observed that women have stronger skills reading non-verbal cues.

  5. They also conclude that groups with more women were better at taking turns in conversation, which helps them make the most of the groups combined knowledge and skills.

  6.  Improved staff retention: Having an inclusive culture boosts morale and opportunity. Inclusive workplaces tend to have lower employee attrition rates – which represents big savings in terms of time and money spent on recruitment.

  7. A better reflection of your customers: Customers come from all walks of life. The more the make-up of your organization reflects your customers the more likely it is you’ll communicate effectively with them.

  8. Improved recruitment and reputation: Having an inclusive workplace is a powerful recruiting tool. Female millennials look for employers with a strong record on diversity. A reputation as an inclusive employer will also demonstrate your positive company values and that will enhance your reputation in the recruitment marketplace.

  9. Greater profitability: Time and again, evidence supports the theory that gender diversity has a positive impact on the bottom line. According to McKinsey, the most gender-diverse companies are 21% more like to experience above-average profitability.


Gender: Refers to the socially constructed roles, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men, and gender diverse people . Gender is usually conceptualized as a binary (girl/woman and boy/man) yet there is considerable diversity in how individuals and groups understand, experience, and express it . 


Gender equity: Refers to the process of making decisions, planning programs and allocating resources fairly by recognising the unique needs and experiences of people based on their gender diversity . Gender equity is intended to identify and address discrimination on the basis of sex or personal identity