How to ensure gender equality in business?
It’s easy to think that the issue of gender inequality in companies has already been overcome. Numerous daily surveys show us the benefits of gender equality in the workplace and introducing more women into leadership positions. For Example, a study by the Mckinsey Global Institute shows that the gender equality could add $12 trillion to the world economy by 2025; another survey finds that companies with more leadership diversity have a 21 percent above average financial income.
But are we really making progress toward a more egalitarian and diverse work environment? Why do we still have more men than women in leadership positions in almost every part of the world, both in the public and private sectors?
As much as we strive to reduce gender inequality, either in the way we think or act, research - and the evidence around us - shows that gender bias still exists.
To help make every business a better place and empower those who are empowered, it is important to strive for equality. In this article, you will check out some tips for getting there. Keep up!
Tips to achieve gender equality in workplace
- Analyze – Today, there are several women in leadership positions and their presence in business is becoming increasingly noticeable. However, statistics on the desktop show a different story. Women remain underrepresented at all hierarchical levels, and the higher the position, the lower the female presence.
The disparity between the rise of male and female careers is most evident in the financial and technology sectors, where, despite efforts, there is still a sharp drop in female participation in leadership and management levels. Women make up 55% of employees at the management level, but only 15% at the top and only 5% of CEOs.
Having more women in leadership positions is seen as both an opportunity and a challenge for companies. A report by the Peterson Institute of International Economics and EY found a correlation between women's board participation and higher profits. While increasing the number of female directors and CEOs is important, increasing the percentage of female leaders on the executive board would further benefit the company's bottom line.
- Changing the Global Workforce – A key factor in making the workplace more diverse and inclusive is the shortage of talent in developed countries, which is expected to worsen dramatically in the coming years due to an aging population and poor educational standards. Developing a culture of gender equality within organizations is essential to attracting and retaining the best talent. Moving from inherited beliefs that intensify unconscious prejudice to data-driven thinking and science to determine who to hire - and promote - will require effort and commitment.
- The challenge of Unconscious Prejudice – Unconscious prejudices are embedded in all of us and are often shaped over many years through the education, culture, and experience of the individual. To change our behavior, we need to make a conscious effort to identify and recognize these trends within ourselves. If we do not, both as individuals and collectively, we will make the same choices over and over - and organizations will continue to have unequal leadership.
“Diversity is not only in gender but also in everyday thinking and actions. We need to understand each individual's situation and find the best way to work in harmony and collaboratively towards a common goal,” says Carla Abrunhosa, Aon Marketing & Communication Head for Latin America.
While senior managers agree on the need for gender equality at leadership levels, they still tend to resort to unconscious beliefs when making decisions about hiring and promoting - such as the idea that it would be easier to align strategies with people from different backgrounds, characteristics similar to them. The end result of this pattern is a team with little diversity.
- Talk about the subject – Talking about a subject is a way of raising awareness as people begin to reevaluate their opinion. How about bringing in a specialized speaker or having a conversation wheel on the topic? This shows that leadership is open to the issue and still helps the team clarify their idea on this topic.
- Create Incentive Programs – You don't have to hire women only to show that you care about gender equality. The fact is that a skilled candidate is often overlooked in the market simply because she is female.
To improve this context, you can ask the women on your team to portray their experience elsewhere and ask them for help in achieving equality. Another important point is to encourage every employee to empathize and understand the seriousness of the problem.
- Train HR – Last but not least, it is essential to train HR to have a proper posture at the time of selection. Failing to hire a competent woman for fear of her becoming pregnant, for example, can mean a huge loss in the company's success.
Unfortunately, this still happens a lot. But proper HR training can be a good start for a change to happen. Check for balance in admissions and raise the gender equality flag whenever there is a new vacancy.
The Bottom Line
Gender equality is still a hot topic, which has gained strength over the years. Every company has a great responsibility to carry this effort forward, especially bringing the egalitarian culture into the work routine.