The world is progressing at a rapid pace, with so many technological innovations and scientific breakthroughs. But even with all these, we are, unfortunately, still lacking in terms of gender equality and acceptance, most notably in the workplace. Dr. Vincent Roscigno, a professor of sociology from The Ohio State University, writes that psychological biases are the root of inequality. These are present when employees subscribe to gender stereotypes, which, in turn, breed discrimination in the workplace. It’s high time businesses started pushing for gender equality, so this article will be tackling its importance and tips on how to achieve it.
The Need for Gender Equality
Gender inequality can manifest in multiple ways. The most common instance is the gender pay gap. On average, women only make $0.81 for every $1 a man makes — and this ratio is even worse for women of color and those with disabilities. There are also opportunity and leadership gaps. Many industries, such as the tech industry, are male-dominated, which can dissuade women from entering the tech workforce and limit their participation in creating products and services for women.
To achieve gender equality, companies must not bar individuals from the same pay or the same opportunities simply because of their gender identity. This not only pushes for a fairer workplace, but also a more efficient one. Dr. Leilani Carver-Madalon, an assistant professor on the online master’s in strategic communication and leadership program at Maryville University, points out that gender equality is pretty good for business, too. Plenty of studies have shown that being fairer to women in the workplace is good for a business’s bottom line, and for the economy more generally. “For example, companies for whom at least 30% of the leaders are women can expect a 15% boost to profitability on average versus similar companies with no female leaders,” she stated in a report on The Hill. “There’s also a link between companies with more women in leadership and stronger share price performance. And equal pay would add an extra $512.6 billion to the economy.” Other studies have revealed that a diverse workforce is more accepting of “outside the box” ideas. This brings in a sizable influx of information from all kinds of perspectives, giving the company more opportunities for innovation.
But, of course, diversity is only effective if there is gender equality. Here are four things you can do to progress towards a fairer, more inclusive workplace:
1. Keep your job descriptions gender-neutral
Apart from ensuring that your job offer lists the necessary skills and certifications, it’s also important to keep the language gender-neutral. You can opt to use the singular “them” rather than “he” for pronouns. This ensures that you don’t discourage non-male candidates.
2. Involve more people in the interview process
To ensure that an applicant’s interview is considered from different perspectives, put together a diverse panel — ideally with employees of different standing, people of color, and, of course, different genders. Their feedback after the interview gives recruiters a more holistic view of the applicant.
3. Arrange company-wide gender sensitivity programs
To get rid of gender inequality in the workplace, employees must first be aware of it. Arrange workshops to educate the workforce of the pitfalls of gender stereotyping and unconscious bias. Also, be sure to promote skills like critical thinking, empathy, and understanding. DD Haines, our very own office manager here at EBR Consulting, highlights empathy as a soft skill that companies should start requiring. This is especially important in male-dominated workplaces, as women in these sectors might feel uncomfortable for being the “odd one out.” A little empathy goes a long way in making minority co-workers feel at ease.
4. Make a conscious effort to build a more diverse workforce
Companies need to be proactive in building a diverse employee base. This means being open to hiring different workers — men, women, and non-binary individuals alike. This creates more opportunities to learn about people from all walks of life, encouraging employees to be more open and less likely to hinge their beliefs on gender stereotypes. It paints an appealing picture of representation in the workplace and, like what was discussed earlier, can bring a lot of good to a company.
Take these four recommendations to heart, and you’ll be well on your way to a more gender-equal workplace. If you need assistance with the hiring process, do check out our recruitment services here at EBR Consulting.
Authored by: Jeanelle Byron
Written for: ebrhrexperts.com
EBR Consulting is pleased to present this guest blog by Jeanelle Byron.