So, how can CEOs and other leaders start to address the issue of gender equality in their workplaces?
1. Start discussing and educating.
2. Commit to reducing any gender pay gap.
The gender pay gap is the result of the social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime. Also “it reflects the historic and systemic undervaluing of women’s workplace contributions and the significant barriers that lead to the under-representation of women in senior executive and management roles” (courtesy of WGEA).
What drives the gender pay gap? WGEA states that:
- conscious and unconscious discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions
- women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages
- lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles
- high rates of part-time work for women
- women’s greater time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities impacting career progression and opportunities.
- women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work
For example, the 7:00 am meeting or Thursday evening drinks might seem like a great idea, but women are significantly disadvantaged when organisations hold meetings outside of standard work times due to caring responsibilities. Perhaps it’s time to start rethinking these kinds of practices.
3. Mentoring women into leadership roles.
Leadership mentoring programs and one to one mentoring are excellent initiatives to help identify and support high potential women into leadership roles. Having a mentor provides women with a gateway to increased confidence and a safe space to discuss their career goals and ambitions, which places them in a better position to successfully take on leadership roles.
It is now well accepted that more women in key decision making positions delivers better company performance, greater productivity and greater profitability.
So how might you start looking at the issue of gender equality in your workplace? Many organisations start with implementing a workplace Committee to start talking about and educating themselves and leaders on the issue.
To read a business case on the benefits of promoting gender equality in your workplace, click here.
Happy International Women’s Day!