Want to Empower Women at Work? Here’s Where to Start
The United States has come a long way in celebrating women and their contributions to society. Now, women are taking up space from government positions to corporations everywhere. Female empowerment has become one of the greatest themes of the past decades. Indeed, how women are seen has greatly changed in today’s world.
Yet, undeniably, some work still needs to be done. For instance, issues like gender pay gaps and the lack of women leaders continue to arise in the workplace. If companies are truly invested in celebrating equality—not only for gender’s sake but also in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusivity within the organization—they can start by creating a safe space in the workplace.
March is Women’s History Month, and on March 8 we are celebrating International Women’s Day. Hence, it’s time to highlight how to encourage women to explore career opportunities. Let’s also look into the benefits of giving women the support they need by recognizing their professional presence and upholding diversity.
There Is Still Work to Do to Close the Gender Gap
While the world is feeling progressive movements in providing equal opportunity across genders, issues still need to be addressed to close the disparity between men and women, especially in the workplace. While business owners are becoming more aware that such issues remain to be rampant in professional spaces, female employees still feel that they are behind their counterparts:
Lack of equal pay. The Global Gender Gap Report 2022 revealed that it would take another 132 years to achieve gender parity across the globe. This is particularly true when it comes to gender pay gaps. For every $100 man earn, women only make $80. In the US, observations in salaries between genders are also the same. In the third quarter of 2022, women were getting 84.3 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned.1 While the gap has lessened, and efforts to address pay gaps are working, the fact that the gap still exists means there is still work to do.
Few women leaders in the workplace. In 2022, a pandemic only helped strengthen concerning growing attrition numbers when it came to female leadership. McKinsey and LeanIn.org conducted the Women in the Workplace study, revealing that there was only one female leader for every four male leaders in 2022.3 What’s also common is that women in leadership roles are deciding to leave their companies in droves. For every two women promoted, one chooses to opt out altogether.
Additionally, the McKinsey and LeanIn.org report listed several reasons female leaders are fleeing from corporations, despite being in a role of leadership, seeking better work cultures elsewhere—a culture that recognizes women’s contributions in the workplace.
Addressing Gender Equality Issues in the Workplace Bodes Well for the Professional Community and Their Company
Equal pay, female leadership, and many other issues won’t be solved in a day. However, if company leaders can start with small acts that recognize women and encourage them to step up, the results will bode well not only for the female population but for everyone in the workforce, including the organization:
Companies practicing diversity and gender empowerment are financially robust. Corporations with higher gender diversity percentages can enjoy better profits. They experience a one-year return of equity 1.1 percent higher than companies with low female representation.5
Where is this increase in profit coming from? It’s actually from the tail end of good effects brought about by upholding women’s empowerment. All in the workforce feel safe and accepted, which translates to encouragement to perform better. As a result, company culture is improved, company goals are met, and financial performance is increased.
Soft skills are valued and practiced throughout. Women are self-aware, great at practicing empathy; these translate to nurturing soft skills in the workplace. When women gain a platform to set examples for others, they contribute to making the office a better workplace. This is why giving them chances for leadership positions will help improve company culture.
They attract and retain top candidates. Companies with better company cultures are a magnet for the best candidates. When others see that employees are enjoying their stay in the company, job applicants want in. Also, when gender bias is dispelled, it’s not just women who will wish to stay longer with the organization. Attrition rates drop, and your brand as an employer improves drastically.
What are small steps companies can take to promote gender equality
Closing the pay gap and promoting a full-safe workplace for women will take a long time to achieve but efforts to move towards these milestones can start small and now. Incorporating a few changes can support an organizations initiatives to diversify with longevity:
- Give women a platform to speak up. In a boardroom meeting of 100, only 15 are women.7 Also, 45 percent of women leaders say it’s hard for female employees to contribute to an online meeting because of their various domestic responsibilities. For instance, it’s hard to simultaneously be a parent and an employee. During meetings or general assemblies, do not forget to pass the floor to female colleagues or remind them that their thoughts about the meeting’s topics are important.
- Mentor female employees, especially young ones and those on the leadership track. When they see an actual effort to guide them as they explore their career horizons, they see leadership in action and benefit from it. Efforts to empower women early in their professional journey will sow the seeds for female leadership in the future.
- Double down on gender sensitivity training. This type of training must come off as something other than a mere human resources requirement. All genders are subject to discrimination and it’s important to ensure all employees receive training. Giving avenues to unpack gender biases and promoting respect for each other within professional spaces lead to a better understanding of the value of gender equality. All of these efforts will soon translate into action.
- Diversify leadership. It’s something business owners and management figures can immediately address. By reviewing your current leadership slate and seeing where strong women figures can be placed, the diversity will soon trickle down even to entry-level employees. Better yet, the diversity of thought and input is invaluable to an organization.
- Provide benefits for women’s unique needs. Parenthood can be more difficult for women, which is why more flexible work arrangements or personal time off (PTO) options will be highly valuable for them.8 Parents will truly appreciate this and show their gratitude by contributing more to the company.
ACHIEVE YOUR DIVERSITY GOALS IN THE WORKPLACE AND MORE THROUGH ON DEMAND GROUP’S SERVICES.
Are you reviewing your organization and see the opportunity to diversify your workforce? ODG is experienced sourcing diverse candidates and can help you and your team achieve your goals. It is critical to us that we match individuals to the environment they’ll thrive in and present the best solution for your company’s unique workforce needs.
Contact On Demand Group if you would like to discuss more.
1 “Global Gender Gap Report 2022.” World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2022/digest/.
2 Deborah J. Vagins, Georgeanne M. Usova. “The Equal Pay Act: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (but Not All the Way): News & Commentary.” American Civil Liberties Union, 25 Oct. 2022, https://www.aclu.org/news/womens-rights/equal-pay-act-youve-come-long-way-baby-not-all-way.
3 “Women in the Workplace 2022.” McKinsey & Company, McKinsey & Company, 18 Oct. 2022, https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace.
4 “17 Distressing Sexual Harassment Statistics : Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” Zippia 17 Distressing Sexual Harassment Statistics 2023 Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Comments, https://www.zippia.com/advice/sexual-harassment-workplace-statistics/.
5 “3 Benefits of Investing in Diversity.” SourceScrub M&A Software: Investment Research Tools, Platform, & Tracking, https://www.sourcescrub.com/post/3-benefits-of-investing-in-diversity.
6 School, EU Business. “Women’s Empowerment in the Business Sector: Advantages, Challenges and Opportunities: EU Business School.” Blog | EU Business School, Blog | EU Business School, 9 Feb. 2022, https://www.euruni.edu/blog/women-empowerment-in-the-business-sector-advantages-challenges-and-opportunities/.
7 10 Ways to Empower Women in the Workplace – the Mom Project. https://community.themomproject.com/the-study/empowering-women-in-the-workplace.
8 Team, InCorp Content. “Women Empowerment at Workplace.” InCorp Global, 15 July 2022, https://www.incorp.asia/blogs/women-empowerment-at-workplace/.