What Can You Do About Gender Inequality?

Women-boardroom-via MarieClaire

Despite legislation and many fine words we still have a very unequal workforce in the UK, with regard to gender. By which I mean, men are still getting more and better jobs than women, and being paid more.The latest research shows a significant gender imbalance within many UK businesses, with men being more likely than women to have been promoted into senior and higher paying management roles in the past year, and, on average, earning 23% more than women.

Although in many firms, women dominate in the more junior positions (73% women vs. 27% men), the chaps usually control the higher ranks of organisations, with 68% of directors being men compared to 32% of women.

The analysis of the 2016 National Management Salary Survey of 60,000 UK managers also found that the average woman working full time earns £29,852, £8,964 less than their male peers. Not a lot of change there over the years…

Another study by Glassdoor Economic Research revealed Britain has one of the worst records on gender equality at work. Ranking Britain 11th out of 18 countries, behind the US, France, Spain and Sweden, the league table took into account pay, board level representation and the gap between male and female employment, among other factors.

CEO of the Chartered Management Institute, Ann Francke said:

“Promoting men ahead of women is keeping us all back. Diversity delivers better financial results, better culture and better decision making. Employers need to get on board with reporting on their recruitment and promotion policies and how much they pay their men and women.”

We have an interview with Ann Francke coming up in January, so I’ll definitely be asking her more about what we can do as individuals, as well as managers and leaders.

Meanwhile, here are a few ideas for dealing with the issue of gender inequality at work:

  • Make sure you, and any staff you manage, understand how powerful and pervasive unconscious bias can be. Bias does not just come from men, women can be equally as prejudiced against having women bosses as it’s outside their usual experience.
  • Look at recruitment practices. Often without realising some job adverts scream Men Only, (see above). Is this job suitable for job sharing? Mention it if so, and if you think it isn’t, seriously consider why not. Does the role really require years and years of experience which may rule out women who have had baby breaks? Review and review, don’t just let HR use something that’s been around for a long time. Challenge job specs which you find unequal.
  • Look at how work is given out in your organisation? Do women get enough opportunities to shine, to be seen as role models? If you are a senior woman do you take opportunities to share your experience and encourage younger women down the line? There is a huge talent loss around the 30s, don’t lose your talented women.
  • And finally, (and of course, I have to say this, don’t I?) consider using a training programme like RenewYou within your organisation. It’s just one day but it really empowers your women to take advantage of whatever is on offer, and gives them a great boost in confidence! Make sure you pay attention to developing your female pipeline of talent

Posted on December 7th, 2016 by

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