Gender Equity, Equality & Inclusion in the workplace

Despite increased publicity and discussions surrounding the inequalities women face in the workplace, a tremendous amount of work still needs to be done to close the gender gap. Although companies have long declared commitments to gender equity, it's important to note that only active and intentional actions on their part to (1) enlist women at all levels in the workforce, and (2) create inclusive environments will help to narrowing the gender gap.

McKinsey’s study on women in the workplace noted some disconcerting findings:

  • Organisations have made little progress in improving women's representation over the past four years. 

  • Women are underrepresented at every level, and women of color are the most underrepresented group of all, lagging behind white men, men of color and white women.

  • The underrepresentation of women in high-level roles isn't due to lack of education or attrition rates.

  • The gender pay gap still exists and little has been done about closing the gap.

  • Women are less likely to be hired into entry-level jobs than men. The lack of entry-level women hires results in fewer qualified women being available to be promoted from within. This creates a vicious cycle that will continue until companies take intentional action toward gender equality.

  • As employees move up the corporate ladder, the gender disparity increases with a greater percentage of men being promoted to management level. 

  • The majority of women, experienced microaggressions (verbal and behavioural indignities), whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial beliefs and insults.  

How to create gender equality in the workplace:

  • Legal compliance – representation and non-discrimination

  • Organisational changes – HR lead changes in strategy, policy, procedures and structures. Includes the intentional recruitment, appointment, development and recruitment of women.

  • Cultural changes. . It is not enough to simply hire more women, although that is a start. Businesses must focus their efforts to both close the gender gap and create truly inclusive workplaces. Companies can also include comprehensive benefits and more opportunities for better work-life balance, such as better access to child care and greater acceptance of flexible work schedules. To bridge the gap, companies must create a culture where women feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. They should focus on improving their cultures to increase inclusion and enhance employee experience and engagement. 

  • Business metric to track, monitor and reward gender equity achievements

 

Creating a work environment that is not only diverse, but also inclusive, is an integral part of reducing the gender gap. for businesses to truly benefit from the myriad backgrounds in the global economy, they must make room for everyone in their companies and empower them to speak up. Companies must take bold steps to create inclusive cultures so women, and all employees, feel supported at their workplace.