Hillary Clinton once said, “When women participate in the economy, everyone benefits.” A woman’s career equality and leadership is imperative for the attainment of an equal employment opportunity, advanced social justice along with national and international economic goals. But, are women really getting equal opportunities? Opportunity is equivalent to time as well as set of circumstances and the present time is definitely right to be a female. Historically, women have constantly stood marginalized from society, but things are modifying. More and more women empowerment groups and thought processes now thrive within the domain. However, if we look at the “Set of Circumstances,” i.e., whether or not the female gender has equal opportunities, the whole scenario turns out to be complicated. Most women are still under leveraged when it comes to talent and leadership in primarily every occupation around the world, be it the position of a CEO or software developer. This gap still prevails even though women are about half the population (49.6%) of the world.
Reasons behind Gender Inequality
- Uneven access to education: Females are not educated on a priority basis in comparison to males which later affect their future and the kind of opportunities they would receive.
- Employment Segregations: The division of jobs leads to an inherent belief that men are more equipped to handle certain jobs than women.
- Mindset of the society: Unconscious bias is all around the society which propels a significant impact on gender inequality.
- Historical imbalance: Another major reason for the strong gender inequality is the ties to the age old habits and stereotypes.
What does gender inequality look like?
- Disproportionate incomes: As per UN Women, globally, the gender pay gap stands at 16 per cent, meaning women workers earn an average of 84 percent of what men earn. For women of colour, immigrant women, and women with children, the difference is even greater.
- Lack of community and support: Even if women make it to the top, the old adage “It’s lonely at the top” is applicable for the females in the senior role within the organization.
- Workplace harassment risks: Registered cases of sexual harassment at Indian workplaces increased 54% from 371 in 2014 to 570 in 2017, according to official data.
- Shortage of professional opportunities: Women in the workplace have frequently complained about discrimination based on gender, and how they have been treated incompetent. To oppose these biases, many women may opt for additional education to increase their chances for progression. But, this will be of more obstruction as the comprehensive ratio of working women will decline.
Following are few ways through which women can be granted equal opportunity and leadership:
Improving workplace gender equality - It is crucial to put an end to salary secrecy for an improvement in gender equality. With an increased salary transparency and remuneration organizations can take a definitive step ahead. A formal pay structure should be made to make it clear how job role, seniority, and tenure affect the salaries of every employee. This very information can help remove the taboo of discussing salary. This transparency will help improve morale along with organizational performance. A workforce, irrespective of gender, will only perform better if everyone feels they’re being fairly compensated for their time and efforts.
Remove barriers for flexible working - The absence of flexibility, or stigma, when it comes to varied working hours can become a hurdle in development for a lot of female workers as many women are inclined towards taking on active parenting duties. There are women who might think that they would be let off if they wanted to start a family, men on the other hand are unlikely to face these fears in a relatable scenario. Women just need to be assured that they’ll still have a job, and a viable source of progression, when they come back to their work. The facility to work from home or use flexible time should also be allowed for a smooth flow.
Stand up against violent and inappropriate behavior- Every employee, especially women, need to feel safe when they are at work. Strict sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies should be made mandatory for every company. Other than that, companies can also create an accessible system for reporting any incidents related to harassment and take swift actions or punishments for any such behavior. Such a culture can help foster the safety and openness of an employee.
Redefine your recruitment process - When gender equality is made a priority while recruiting the teams then the gender proportion becomes more diverse. The diversity further adds diversification, advanced engagement, giving positive ripples through the organization motivation, rank satisfaction and more.