Women & Gender Gap in Workplace Culture

Blog / Women & Gender Gap in Workplace Culture

How Business Leaders can Create Gender Equality in the Workplace Through a Change in Workplace Culture

Despite the popular belief that the gender gap is nearly closed in the workplace, men still continue to land the majority of high-paying jobs.

In fact, the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 found that it will take another 100 years to achieve gender equality based on the current rate of progress. 

But over a year and half into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen some of that progress erode, with many working mothers leaving the workforce. While women represented 39% of the global workforce in 2020, they also accounted for 54% of the job losses in May of that same year, thought to be due to the fact that women are over-represented in particular sectors of the workforce, such as hospitality, further exacerbating inequalities.

And the women that remain, are more burned out than ever before, and increasingly more so than men.

Beyond that, there is also the gender pay gap. In 2020, women only earned on average 83 cents to every dollar a man made. But this is the average for all women. For women of color, the gap is even worse. Black women only earned 64 cents to every dollar and hispanic women earned only 57 cents to every dollar a man made. 

Equal Pay Day in the United States for 2022 is on April 2. What does that mean? It means that it takes an entire year plus 3 months and 2 days for women, on average, to make what it took a man one year to earn.

And you would think that with age and seniority in jobs, that pay gap might improve. But it doesn’t. The US Census Bureau actually found that women consistently earn less as they age.  

The state of women in the workplace and gender gap hangs in the balance. 

But it’s not just about closing the gender gap in order to help become as successful as men. Bridging the gender gap can improve employee engagement, retention, financial returns and innovation.

So how can business leaders help close the gender gap? It starts with workplace culture.

But remember, company culture, which includes your company’s values and how you value the people that work for you, starts from the top down. If you want an inclusive and diverse workforce that includes women at nearly all levels, you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. 

Here are 5 aspects of company culture you can focus on to bridge the gender gap in the workplace.

1 | Two Roads Diverged

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and you need to take the one that focuses on diversity in the recruitment process. It’s the start of making all the difference when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. 

Start by creating accurate and inclusive job descriptions then sourcing a gender-diverse candidate pipeline. Set up a fair interview process and ensure that your hiring process is free of internal bias. These measures need to be taken at every level of seniority. In other words, stop hiring mostly those people that look like you or have the same background as you.

2 | Counting Stars

Fair compensation and promotion procedures create equity and transparency in the workplace. Be sure that you are truly offering equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. Not only is it fair, but it can help you attract and retain top talent. 

Additionally, focus on promoting qualified women from within. Do this by creating a standard set of evaluation and promotion procedures that allow hard working women to move up the corporate ladder. This level of transparency in evaluation will actually benefit everyone.

3 | Flexing

Offer flexible and supportive employee benefits. Burnout is a huge stressor for women in the workplace, so allowing them opportunities for a better work-life balance, such as better access to child care and flexible work arrangements, can help reduce burnout that can lead to turnover. 

4 | Train Ride

Get everyone in the office on the same page, or in this case all on the same train ride, with a diversity and inclusion training program. Train employees on what is and isn’t acceptable in the workplace and address potential biases and prejudices within your organization. This can encourage employees to move from awareness to action, creating allyship.  

5 | Accounting

We aren’t talking about the accounting department here. What we are talking about is the need to hold managers accountable. Companies need to be assertive about gender diversity and make it an integral part of their business strategy. This means holding managers accountable to those diversity and inclusion efforts. One suggestion is to tie their bonuses to diversity and inclusion objectives.