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Women have undoubtedly come a long way in terms of levelling out the social and economic playing field with their male counterparts. However, there is still some way to go before we achieve complete gender equality. In part 2 of this series, we take a look at what steps can be taken to achieve full gender equality beyond salary:
The responsibility to eradicate gender discrimination and inequality in the workplace rests with the leadership of any organisation. Companies should take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing policies and practices in the following key areas:
Employment and compensation: Policies that eliminate gender discrimination in areas such as recruitment, hiring, pay, and promotion.
Work-life balance and career development: Policies that enable work-life balance and support educational, career, and vocational development.
Health, safety, and freedom from aggression: Policies to secure the health, safety, and wellbeing of female workers.
Management and governance: Policies to ensure equitable participation in management and governance.
Business, supply chain, and marketing practices: Non-discriminatory business, supply chain, contracting, and marketing policies.
Civic and community engagement: Policies to promote equitable participation in civic life and to eliminate all forms of discrimination and exploitation.
Leadership, transparency, and accountability: Policies that are publicly disclosed, monitored, and enforced that display active commitment from top leadership.
Any evidence of discriminatory behaviour or harassment among managers and general staff needs to be investigated and acted on swiftly, thus sending a clear message that such activities will not be tolerated.
Organisations should monitor the gender diversity of their workforce at every level, including at recruitment, for succession planning and the number of women who are making it into middle and senior level management roles. Through having this data it should be possible to have a clear picture of whether or not there is any potential discrimination on grounds of gender.
It's in the best interest of employers to not only eradicate discrimination and harassment against women in the workplace but to develop proactive strategies for progressing female talent, so that they can reap the many benefits from having a gender-diverse workforce. This will help to prevent employers from losing valuable female talent by default. From a much wider perspective, providing equal opportunities for growth and development will enable organisations to better attract and retain female talent, thus empowering women labour market and promoting an increased level of economic independence.
Organisations should invest in inspiring, mentoring and challenging women to take ownership of their responsibilities and advance in their careers. Employers can create advisory boards to enhance career opportunities for women and drive local and national initiatives that support, advance, retain and reward women. Furthermore, employers should measure progress, tracking various inclusion and diversity-specific key performance indicators, such as talent acquisition, attrition, career progression, and leadership and account team composition. Leadership can review this information to help senior leaders set goals that will advance high-performing women within the organisation, whilst inspiring other female employees to follow their lead and aim high.
While it may not be possible to achieve gender equality straightaway, employers can make a conscious effort to set a positive example and facilitate progress in the right direction!
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