World over, 95 percent of leadership positions across the largest public companies are held by men. According to the most recent findings by the World Economic Forum, no country in the world has achieved gender parity in wages. In fact, the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Index 2020 suggests that the progress towards closing the gender gap on this aspect has stalled.
Beyond wages too, there are a lot more factors of inequality between genders at any workplace. Notably, this is not a gender-war between men and women. A larger community of LGBTQ+ individuals are affected too, and a system which harms all its stakeholders in one way or the other is to be blamed.
The following are a few ways to ensure gender equality at workplaces.
Equal Pay, Equal Work
Women professionals are often discriminated against through lower wages/salaries, as well as limited opportunities and promotion to managerial and senior roles. Equal opportunities should be given to both genders in terms of recruitment, promotions, and on-site opportunities.
Equal pay for equal work regardless of gender has to be non-negotiable. Studies have found that globally, women earn only 80% of the salary for the same job and duration as that of male counterparts. A simple way to ensure pay parity is to conduct pay-equity audits. This creates salary data transparency and reduces wage gaps or other possible discrimination.
Being mindful of our prejudices and biases can influence how we deal with each other in the workplace. It is essential to educate the managers who interact with the employees to identify discrimination and how it can be handled. For instance, women are often labelled aggressive or abrasive for displaying the same traits of assertiveness and frankness that will get male employees complimented and rewarded.
Training programmes and participatory workshops often help in building a gender-sensitive workforce. Also, team lunches or/and day-outs in smaller groups of 10 or 15 will help build camaraderie between genders and diffuse any tension.
Listening to complaints from men, women, and non-binary individuals in a team gathering helps create transparency. Gender sensitization should not be restricted to maternity and paternity leave policies, workplace safety, and action against workplace harassment. For instance, if male workers find it unfair that women colleagues are allowed to leave office early or are provided free commute, such policies must be made flexible for all genders.
Participation of all genders are essential in gender parity discussions and workshops promoting inclusivity. The top leadership must ensure that day-to-day actions reflect the organisation’s progressive policies.
HR Policy Implementation
The Human Resources department’s interest in attending to the grievances and solving problems of the individuals in workforce is of paramount importance. More family-friendly policies incentivize men to take on more of the responsibility of parenting, helping create empathy for women colleagues who are mothers too.
Besides complying with laws such the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, an organisational culture that promotes gender equality creates an enabling environment. A report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) states that companies with zero gender-gap enjoy 20 percent higher profits than companies with low employee engagement scores.