How do we define gender equality? This is when people of all genders have equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities. Not only is this a basic human right but it also has a wide range of benefits, including preventing discrimination, economic prosperity and a healthier and safer society for all.
According to Reuters, Adidas and Gap Inc are among the best performing fashion brands at tackling gender inequality, according to a new index which found that most retailers are failing to support women in their boardrooms and factories. Both organisations have achieved positive results such as pay, gender balance in leadership, and violence and harassment.
As a Human Resources professional, you’re likely always looking to create a happier and stable workforce and encourage growth-oriented culture in your organisation. To help, we’ve put together some tips to help you improve gender equality in your workplace:
Be mindful of your hiring process
During the recruitment process the people function should be mindful of gender equality practices, by ensuring a bias-free environment is evident across the organisation. No role or position should be tagged as gender specific. The hiring decisions should be based on experience and skill set and should be fair and just.
Support salary transparency
Inequality in pay is also a demotivating factor for many employees and a significant factor in damaging the employer reputation. Therefore, transparency in pay should be ensured. This means pay parity is equal across the organisation, especially across genders.
Educate employees in gender equality
Inclusion training programs should be introduced by the people function to enable a positive work environment, whereby employees can understand, respect and uplift each other. This helps to remove any unconscious biases that may influence major decisions in the organisation.
To create a safe work environment for everyone, regardless of gender identity, many organisations across the world are including transgender awareness training as part of their courses on gender equality.
Encourage a work-life balance
It is imperative that HR departments should introduce policies encouraging a healthy work-life balance. Career advancement opportunities should not be denied based on gender or the responsibilities of the employees at home. Offering employees the option to adopt a flexible work environment will help them balance their home life with their work responsibilities.
Flexibility options in the workplace could include practicing flex time, providing remote work options, encouraging employees to use their time off, and more.
Implement strict anti-harassment policies
Strict actions should be taken against disrespect, mistreatment, exploitation or harassment. The working environment should be a safe place where employees should feel protected and motivated. This will help them thrive within the organisation. Whenever any case of harassment is reported, the people function should ensure confidentiality and form a panel of unbiased individuals to investigate the issue with the utmost care.
Since its inception in the late 1800s, Abbott has always had women leaders—so it’s not surprising that the medical supply company is still a leading workplace for women today. Many of Abbott’s women senior and executive employees began their careers at the company and rose through the ranks, benefiting from the company’s structured year-long mentorship program and its commitment to supporting women, particularly mothers, in achieving maximum potential at work.
In the long term, not only do gender equality practices and protections benefit your employees and the organisation but they also benefit your business. As a result, your teams will become innovative, and problems that once hindered your business growth will be solved faster and more efficiently.
We can all contribute to bringing about positive change and challenging gender bias. Everyone of us has a role to play in improving gender equality in the department and this requires dedicated commitment at all levels to be successful.