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July 8th, 2021 · 5 min read

Revisiting gender diversity in the workplace

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Common gender diversity issues in the workplace

  • Lack of female representation in leadership roles. According to Fortune, just 6.6 percent of Fortune 500 companies have women as their Chief Executive Officers. This illustrates a stark gender disparity in access to leadership opportunities.
  • Wage inequality. Women receive lower wages than their male counterparts in similar positions. One study from Payscale shows that women earn 82 cents where a man might make a dollar.And the wage gap is even larger for women of color. The Center for American Progress states that for every dollar earned by a White man, Asian women earn 90 cents, Black women earn 62 cents, American Indian women earn 57 cents and Latinx women earn just 54 cents.
  • Sexual harassment and retaliation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that at least 25 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment at their place of work.  An additional study revealed that 75 percent of women who reported their experience faced some kind of retaliation — either by losing their jobs or experiencing further mistreatment at their company.

Importance of gender diversity in the workplace

Gender diversity initiatives in the workplace

  • Practice wage transparency
    Wages should be transparent and equal. Women should be earning the same amount as their male counterparts with similar job duties and similar levels of experience. Consider implementing transparent pay brackets that allow your employees to benchmark their pay against others in a similar role.
  • Leverage employee education
    Education is a powerful tool for breaking down systemic barriers that keep women from advancing in the workforce. Consider implementing a comprehensive workforce education program that enables career development and allows all of your employees to build skills and earn degrees or credentials on their own schedule.
  • Think beyond diversity training
    While it’s true that diversity training can be an effective method for generating awareness around workplace diversity issues and microaggressions, it’s not a solution that will change behaviors overnight. Instead, leading corporations view training as just one part of a greater DEI initiative that touches all facets of an organization — from hiring, to skills development and ongoing education.
  • Implement fair promotion practices
    People managers play a key role in ensuring that their female direct reports have equal access to advancement opportunities and are evaluated fairly when up for promotion. Implement training on fair promotion practices and encourage managers to have open discussions with their team members about career growth and development.
  • Elevate mentorship programs
    Workplace mentoring programs are known to be effective at engaging employees and encouraging career development. But they can also be a powerful tool for promoting a more diverse and inclusive work environment. Consider implementing a new mentorship program (or revisiting your existing one) that emphasizes the needs of women and other employees from underrepresented groups.
  • Write inclusive job descriptions
    The language used in a job description can directly influence who applies for a position. Avoid gendered language that could dissuade men or women from applying. Additionally,  shift job descriptions away from listing qualifications and instead include expectations for accomplishments within the role. This tactic greatly widens your pool of applicants and can positively contribute to gender diversity in the long term.

The path toward a more gender-diverse workplace

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