6 Ways to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace
2017 was the year of the woman. From the Women’s March to the #MeToo movement, women finally began to get a say in the behaviors and actions that negatively affect their everyday lives- and people started to listen. America must continue to listen and work toward equality in all areas, but here is what you can do to make sure your business is promoting gender equality, specifically working toward parity, in the workplace.
1. Don’t Ask Candidates About Former Pay
One of the most immediate ways women can be discriminated against is by their pay. When they are interviewing for a new position, they are looking to get paid for it based on their qualifications, experience, and the needs of the job- not based on the pay at their previous job, which could be much lower than they should be getting. Since women have traditionally been paid less for the same work as men, asking a female candidate what they are being paid at their current job can cause you or the hiring manager to base your salary offer on their already discriminatory pay, instead of the true value the new job. Skip this bad practice by not asking any job candidates about their former or current salaries.
2. Offer Unlimited Sick & Vacation Days
Whether someone is suffering from mental and physical fatigue or wants to take time to visit their family on the other coast, offering unlimited sick and vacation days will allow your entire team, especially women, to take the appropriate amount of time when they need it to stay healthy and productive. Allowing your team to rest, relax, and recharge without penalty or worrying about being able to pay the bills gives them the freedom to prioritize their well-being and make sure that when they are at work, they are attentive and doing their very best!
3. Support Remote & Flexible Work Options
Sometimes children have dentist appointments during the day or people have elderly or sick parents who need to be cared for, which just isn’t conducive to a nine to five, Monday through Friday schedule. Unfortunately, women still disproportionately shoulder the weight of the caregiving workload, which can cause their work to suffer when they must choose between the two obligations. Supporting remote-working capabilities and flexible scheduling allows your team to do their work wherever and whenever suits them best. This will support greater productivity and enthusiasm since they are fully committed to the job when they need to be and they are appreciative of your company’s advocating of a healthy work-life balance!
4. Offer Paid Family Leave
Women now make up a great portion of the American workforce. As a result “women who become pregnant today are more than three times as likely to be working a job until the very end of their pregnancy when compared to their 1960s counterparts. Of American women today who work during pregnancy, 59% will be back to work within three months of giving birth.” Since women carry the majority of the caregiving workload at home compared to men, the lack of paid leave policies effectively discriminates against them by not allowing them the time they need to support their families at home and at work. Not only is Paid Family Leave good for women, men, and their families, it is also beneficial to businesses and society by providing healthier families and children who will grow to be well-adjusted, capable, working adults. (We actually wrote an entire post about the benefits of Paid Family Leave! Read it here.)
5. Have a Clear Sexual Harassment Policy & Require Real Training
This topic is the result of a recent, major shift in the conversation and the improving power of women to stand up for themselves and their bodily autonomy. Every company should have a clear, written sexual harassment policy that details all unacceptable behavior, reporting policies, and any and all disciplinary actions for those who violate the policy. To make sure your business is a safe, professional place to work, especially for women, be certain that everyone attends required sexual harassment training every year. When we say this, we mean training that isn’t just to lessen your insurance liability, but truly structured to eliminate harassment and abuse from your workplace and encourage safe, confidential reporting practices. Everyone should be able to go to work without fear of being harassed or abused, no matter their gender or position!
6. Mentor & Encourage Your Female Employees
One of the most important ways to improve gender equality in your business is to make sure that men are mentoring and encouraging their female colleagues. Women need men championing equity and equality in the workplace for change to truly be made. This means men actively mentoring women who want to learn more about the industry, as well as encouraging them to apply for promotions and make good career moves! Women are empowering each other to move up the ladder, but since most men are in the positions of power they are the ones with the ability to make a more immediate impact when it comes to equity and representation! Keep all relationships professional, but work together to improve female representation in your company!
The fact is, men have long been privileged in society and the workplace, leaving women disadvantaged or left out completely. In order for real change and success to happen in business, you need ideas and representatives from all corners. This means that you need gender parity, equity, and equality to achieve your company’s greatest level of creativity and prosperity. Start with these ideas, but constantly survey your employees for their suggestions! They can give you the best assessment of your company culture.
Abby Yetter is the CEO and Chief Consultant of Bright Ideas Small Business Solutions, LLC. She is a driven, enthusiastic businesswoman, with a talent for organizing the chaotic, and branding the unfamed. Abby strives to use her creativity, and experience, to solve the many problems of small businesses. With a background based in customer service management, social media, technological organization, sales, marketing, and customer experience specialties, she enjoys taking everyday complications, and finding the newest, most productive ways to execute the tasks.All stories by: Abby Yetter