Fostering gender equality in the workplace

By: Kirsten Cluer

Date: 8 March 2019

A mixed group of male and female directors discuss business in the boardroomIn recent years, the issue of equality in the workplace has become a core focus for UK businesses. This is in part due to the media highlighting the unbalanced treatment each gender currently receives.

One of the biggest inequality revelations in recent times was the BBC revealing that its highest-paid male presenter, Chris Evans, received as much as £2.25 million in 2016/17. By comparison, the highest-paid female BBC presenter, Claudia Winkleman, earned between £450K and £500K - substantially less.

Unfortunately, it is no secret that the same unjustified and disproportionate wages are offered by many businesses across the country. And it’s not just pay - workplace gender inequality can be seen everywhere, from boardroom level down to the training and promotion opportunities that women are offered.

Some organisations continue to turn a blind eye - but more than ever before are pushing to topple the current unbalanced structure by finding ways to empower and promote their female employees. Obviously, this is great to see, but more businesses still need to join the movement.

Here are a few key ways in which businesses can foster greater gender equality in the workplace.

Be transparent about where you are

If an employer wants to empower women in the workplace, they first need to be transparent about the business they are already running.

How many women are on the books? How many of those women are employed in senior management roles?

As with most things in life, by investigating the situation and the reasons for it thoroughly before acting, employers will have a better understanding of the direction they want to drive their business in.

Take inspiration from others

There is no harm in having a look at the example of businesses that are leading the way in empowering women - even if they are direct competitors.

They are succeeding in gender equality for a reason, so take a look and see if you can gain insights into how to promote women in your own business.

Create a culture where women are encouraged to progress

It is very disheartening to see that some women miss out on great progression opportunities because they believe they are not good enough, or not suited to a senior role.

In business as a whole, stats show that men typically jump at promotion opportunities even when they don’t have all the necessary experience or qualifications, while women, often mistakenly, think that there is no point even applying.

By creating a culture in which women are encouraged to take greater chances and put themselves forward for roles they are more than capable of filling, a level playing field can be created.

Offer more options for women starting families

This is one of the greatest issues facing businesses today, as most do not tend to have policies in place that enable women to take on a demanding job while accommodating a family.

In truth, this can discourage ambitious women from having children, while also putting off women with existing family obligations from applying for senior roles.

However, by implementing more flexible options such as remote working, job sharing and flexible working hours, women will feel more confident in being able to create work/life balance while keeping their career intact.

Level the payment playing field

Finally, equal pay must be addressed head-on. Pay disparity and the gender gap are two of the biggest issues in today’s workforce, and certainly a catalyst for ongoing class action lawsuits.

Paying employees fairly and equally based on experience level, not on gender, is truly the first step needed to properly promote gender equality.

Overall, promoting gender equality in your business will enable all employees to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities - regardless of whether they are a woman or a man.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2019 Kirsten Cluer, HR consultant and owner of Cluer HR