While we have come a long way in tackling gender bias, there still remains a lot of inequalities both in our society and organizations. Gender inequality in the workplace occurs when an employee is treated differently, unfavourably or unfairly because of their gender. Gender equality at work includes employers providing equal opportunities for promotions; pay raises; advancement and inclusion in decision-making processes. The meaning of gender equality is that everyone can equally participate in the workplace without any discrimination.
Types Of Gender Issues
There are four major types of gender inequality that women can face in the workplace. By understanding them, one can present solutions for change and reduce implicit bias that promotes equality.
1. Unequal Pay
One of the most overt types of gender issues is that women generally earn less than their male counterparts despite being equally or more educated than men. Some statistics show that women make 80% of what men make, thereby creating a huge pay gap. Women are also found to negotiate their pay less as it is viewed as being greedy or desperate.
2. Lesser Promotions
Women are promoted at work far less often than men, as witnessed by the low number of women in top management roles or CEOs. Some suggest that the reason for this gender disparity is due to a lack of visible role models and mentors in similar leadership positions in the organization.
According to law, an employer cannot discriminate against a woman based on pregnancy or childbirth. If an employer did not hire you because you are pregnant or chooses to fire you and replace you with a “more productive” worker after you are pregnant, this is considered as one of the types of gender inequality.
Harassment takes many forms and can be difficult to prove. This includes sexual harassment in the form of unwanted sexual advances, suggestive photos, inappropriate physical contact and the request for sexual favours in return for promotions, job security or any other job-related benefit. This becomes a major hindrance to gender equality and women empowerment.
Gender inequality can have adverse effects such as workplace conflict, poor productivity, reduced employee morale, and also cause legal issues in the future.
Importance Of Reducing Gender Discrimination
Businesses have begun to understand the need for gender equality. There are many benefits to reducing gender discrimination in the workplace. Some of them include:
- Gender equality in the workplace can have a direct impact on the bottom line and increase the profitability of companies
- Businesses that have tackled gender disparity have used it as a recruitment tool as it attracts more women to join an inclusive workplace
- Companies have a better reputation with employees, the wider job market, and even customers due to having a diverse workforce
- It also leads to higher productivity and better collaboration among teams due to stronger communication skills possessed by women
- People of different genders bring unique strengths and skills to work, which can result in a stimulating and creative environment furthering innovation
- A gender-equal work environment where all employees feel valued creates an overall more positive workplace for all of your employees and boosts employee morale
How To Overcome Gender Bias At The Workplace
Gender inequality issues are difficult to navigate but it is possible to reduce bias in organizations by adding these practices.
1. Close The Pay Gap
It is well-known that there is gender disparity in pay structure where women are paid less than men based on the same amount of work. Conduct a pay audit to check for any discrepancies in compensation trends. Once you understand the issues and patterns, you can overhaul the structure to make salaries more transparent.
2. Increase Diverse Hiring
One common need for gender equality is in the recruitment process. Review your job descriptions and assess whether your job requirements need to be altered to broaden the pool of applicants. Make sure your hiring panel is also diverse to avoid bias. Create policies that promote gender equality in recruitment, training, hiring, and promotion practices.
3. Create A Mentoring Program
Setting up mentoring programs is one of the methods to reduce the different types of gender issues. Mentors can encourage women and give guidance to navigate their careers. It will also make women feel more included in the workplace. This will also help them in advancing towards senior management roles and create a diverse leadership leading to lasting change.
4. Allow Flexible Schedules
Each business has its own requirements regarding work timings but women are also the ones who are generally responsible for household and childcare responsibilities. This makes juggling work-life balance difficult. Gender inequality can be reduced by providing flexible work timings and remote work options to employees for improving satisfaction and engagement for female employees.
5. Establish Training Workshops
Create a training program on gender equality issues to educate employees and management regarding all policies around gender discrimination and other related laws. Also, by having regular mandatory training workshops employees will have a better understanding and awareness of what gender bias looks like and will be able to navigate better at the workplace.
6. Equal Promotion Opportunities
The meaning of gender equality is that women aren’t discriminated against during the time of promotion. Women should be provided various tools, mentorship, and leadership opportunities to break the glass ceiling. This can be done by creating better opportunities for career progression and promotion within the company.
7. Listen And Learn
Get to know team members on a personal level, regardless of their gender or background. You’ll need to make gender equality a priority over a long period of time and communicate that fact to your employees at every opportunity. Also, keep up to date with what’s happening elsewhere in your industry and beyond. Listen to your employees when they come forward with issues or complaints and address them head-on. This will help develop trust amongst employees and also help you know the ground realities.
Tips To Promote Gender Equality At Work
Toxic work cultures increase gender inequality at the workplace and employers can do the following things to combat the issue.
- The meaning of gender equality means stimulating a culture where they are appreciated for their skills and talents without any regard to gender
- Communicate internally the efforts your company, division or department is making to promote gender equality and women empowerment
- Have written policies to promote gender equality in the workplace. They should include hiring, pay policies, harassment, gender discrimination complaint policy, and non-discrimination policies
- Talking about discrimination or gender inequality brings the issue out into the open so it can be addressed. Confront any offender along with HR and use appropriate warnings and solutions for the same
- If you are discriminated against due to gender inequality at the workplace, the first step is to report, in writing, the discrimination or harassment to your employer
There are many causes of gender inequality in the workplace, but with the right guidance, HR can implement vital practices to keep that in check. Organizations can implement the above tips to make it a safe and motivating environment for all its employees to create a truly inclusive workplace. To stand out as a great place to work it is important to make consistent strides in gender diversity.