Gender inequality manifests itself when a bias is held against a person of a certain gender such that it results in unequal discrimination. An example of this kind would be where a person’s employment opportunities are dependent on their gender.
Whilst this form of discrimination sadly does still exist, a more common way we see gender inequality in the work-place is through indirect discriminatory structures which give one gender more benefits or allow for the advancement of one gender over another.
Variance across borders and industries
Although the nature of gender discrimination in the workplace has changed to an extent, it evidently persists as a wider phenomenon in many economies.
According to the World Bank’s 2019 Women, Business and Law Report, in only 6 countries are there equal work-place rights for women and men. Rather shockingly, the UK was not included in these 6 countries and fell into the category of “typical” economies in which women received “three-quarters” of the work-place rights of men.
But the issue of gender inequality is not just country-specific. In many “hype” industries we are seeing a highly disproportionate number of women to men in skilled rolls.
For example, the Forum’s Global Gender Gap report found that only 22% of the world’s A.I professionals are women – reflecting a wider gender imbalance in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Maths) career skills.
A great percentage of women remain in work mode when they leave the office, spending time to bare the brunt of childcare, cooking, cleaning – often at the cost of their own free time.
According to the OECD Better Life Index, if men and women shared unpaid tasks equally then women would receive an extra 5 hours of free-time per week. What’s more, the total estimated value of women’s unpaid work is about 13% of global GDP, according to the OECD.
Good news are that with so many international companies, in industries that are rapidly changing, connecting and influencing people in unprecedented ways, business today are in a unique position to lead the way to gender equality.
Your business as a beacon of gender equality
Businesses clearly need to strive to offer women and men the same privileges in the workplace.
- Create a training process where team members learn about the importance of gender equality, not just for the business itself.
- Offer mentorships to foster the outstanding abilities of women and to help promote women to positions of leadership.
- Be transparent and allow your employees to understand why certain decisions are made and also to highlight how your company will implement an action plan towards complete gender parity.
- Review salaries often to ensure that there is parity between men and women in the same roles.
- Take a flexible work approach and encourage parental leave where it is appropriate. So often in the business world today it is about work done and not time spent in the office. An attitude like this will help to de-stigmatise paid leave for women when they need time for maternity.
With more companies implementing approaches like these to bring about gender equality there is a growing call for other businesses to do the same. Ultimately, it is exactly what is needed to help us close the gap and move towards a truly equal workplace.
At Linkilaw we strive to be leaders of equality and opportunity. We’re transparent and honest, fully embracing our coworkers no matter what their gender, background, orientation, race, religion or ice-cream preference is.
Helping draft discrimination policies would be one example of how we can help other businesses to be beacons of parity too.