Gender Inequality In the Workplace: How to Attain Gender Parity

July 05, 2019

Fighting gender inequality in the workplace
Erin Ollila

Your organization is forward thinking, and you put in every effort to maintain a diverse workforce — filled with people of different sexes, religions and cultures. But even though you're working hard at fighting gender inequality in the workplace, there's still a huge gap in the global workforce. The 2018 World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report claims that "all things being equal, with current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in 108 years."

108 years.

Let that sink in for a moment.

While there's a lot that needs to be changed from a global standpoint, initiating change can start at each individual organization. Are you ready to make a difference by promoting gender parity in the workplace?

First, Understand the Problem

Women are being hired and promoted less often than men, especially in management positions, and they're still earning much less than their male counterparts for comparable positions. But don't take my word for it. Here are a few alarming statistics to consider:

The National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF) says that "overall, women in the United States are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual gender wage gap of $10,169." However, those figures dwindle even lower when the female group is broken down by culture and race. The NPWF indicates, "Among women who hold full-time, year-round jobs in the United States, Black women are typically paid 61 cents, Native American women 58 cents and Latinas just 53 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men."

Yet, The U.S. Department of Labor indicates that, "Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today, compared with 11 percent in 1960."

Even though their responsibility for providing financial stability for their families has drastically increased, their salaries have not.

The Business Case for Gender Parity in the Workplace

In a McKinsey Global Institute report, Laura D'Andrea Tyson, former chair of the U.S. president's Council of Economic Advisors and a University of California, Berkeley, professor, says, "Women account for half of the global labor supply and about 70 percent of global consumption demand." However, they're not being promoted or paid the same as their male counterparts.

However, there are major benefits for organizations who make efforts to fight gender inequality in the workplace. The two most important being a better reflection of consumer profiles and a diverse viewpoint of decision makers. Think about it. If the majority of shoppers are women, companies should tap into their wants and needs by having female decision makers.

A stagnant, non-diverse workforce is both limiting for growth and vision.

Steps You Can Take to Fight Gender Inequality in the Workplace

First, look at your current employees. What percentage of individuals identifying as males and females are you employing? Is there a gap in pay rate? If so, can you make immediate adjustments to make their salaries more equitable? Next, look at your management teams. Are women being represented in your board rooms? Are there enough female decision makers? If not, take steps to adjust your company culture to find seats at the table for the women you employ.

Hiring is another area where you can bring gender parity in the workplace. First, check out your current hiring practices. Look at your vacancy listings and job descriptions. Is your word choice or language regarding responsibilities gendered? If so, update it to be inclusive.

In the McKinsey Global Report, Tyson recommends, "Best practices for achieving greater gender equality in the workplace include setting targets for the recruitment and retention of women and initiating affirmative searches to achieve these targets, tracking and eliminating gender pay gaps, and adjusting how jobs are structured and remunerated to enhance flexibility."

There's a lot you can do to close the gap between gender inequality in the global workforce. Just start with small steps in your organization, and encourage your peers to do the same at theirs. Let's shrink that 108 year span to close the gender pay gap even more.

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