Gender equality in the workplace
Gender equality in the workplace has made progress in recent years, but there is still a long way to go before achieving full equality and inclusion and we must continue to discuss this.
According to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2022 report, 95 countries do not guarantee equal pay for equal work. The WBL index improved the most in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa in 2021, although they still lag behind the rest of the world.
And even among women in positions of power, many feel compelled to apologize for juggling family life. According to a McKinsey report, there is a burnout gap between women and men that nearly doubled in 2021.
We will only achieve gender equality if we have equal incentives, resources and opportunities. Not only are more and more job seekers prioritizing jobs at companies that value diversity and inclusion, but customers are now making purchasing decisions based on company culture and ethics. ‘business.
In this article, we talk to industry experts and ask them to share their thoughts on workplace equality and inclusion.
Create environments where women can thrive
In 2022, we shouldn’t have to have conversations about gender in the workplace. But the fact is, there are differences in how women view the world and the workplace, which impacts how we lead, interact with others, and how we handle challenges. . These differences should be recognized and celebrated as they bring diversity and dynamism to the workplace.
“I am particularly passionate about creating environments in which women can thrive. It means creating an organizational culture that helps women reach their full potential and encourages, grows, develops and nurtures them every step of the way,” says Anine de Wet, Director of Customer Service, Hoorah Digital.
De Wet believes that women need to do a better job of supporting other women in the workplace.
“A big part of this support is to make room for women, and mothers in particular, to manage motherhood alongside their professional obligations. In its simplest form, this means flexible working hours and judging a woman’s competence by her results, not the number of hours she spends in the office,” says De Wet.
Next Generation Mentoring
It is essential for us as women in the workplace, regardless of our profession or sector, to embrace diversity and ensure that women have a platform to make their voices heard. and their ideas.
“One of the best things about working in digital is that we invariably ‘live in the future’ every day. We are changing the way people connect, bank and shop. mentor and train the next generation entering the workforce to ensure they understand the value of education and empowerment and that their power is based on their abilities, skills and ideas rather than its outdated gender and stereotypes,” says Dori-Jo Bonner, strategist at Striata Africa
Create a space that embraces inclusion and diversity
Women and girls make up 50% of the world’s population, according to the United Nations. This is at least half of the global potential, but a 2019 World Economic Forum gender gap report found that despite this, it will still take at least 99.5 years to reach gender parity. And that number has only increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated the gender disparity, especially for women in underdeveloped or developing markets,” says Sandra Kneubuhler, Country Sales Manager and District Manager, South Africa for Radisson Hotel Group. “So just as we’ve had to adapt to working from home, hybrid working and more, we need to adapt our gender equality goals and gender parity conversations.”
It means giving all genders a platform and encouraging ambition, positivity and work-life balance. “Very often, men are thought to be ambitious while women are too daring or irrelevant,” says Kneubuhler. “But in an ideal world, we would see everyone with the same goal. My advice to working women is to embrace your ambition and be bold without giving up on your compassion and kindness.
“It is this – the need to respect individual differences, diverse life experiences and worldviews – that drives business success and at Radisson we have incorporated this into our human resources policies. and even in our customer experiences.”
Technology as a catalyst to close the gender pay gap
The technology has long been lauded for its ability to close the gender pay gap and provide jobs for people – and women – who previously would have struggled in this regard. Apps like Airbnb and SweepSouth, for example, have been catalysts for change when it comes to creating income opportunities for women.
A report released by Airbnb last year noted that the Airbnb platform was lowering barriers to entry and welcoming new guests to the platform by empowering groups typically excluded from tourism benefits, such as those who live in rural and cantonal communities. And this greatly benefits women, as female hosts make up more than half of the Airbnb host community.
The on-demand home services app, SweepSouth, is also leading in this regard. CEO and co-founder Aisha Pandor notes that those who find work through their platform can take advantage of 100% of the opportunities they are exposed to.
“When you depend on finding work opportunities through what people around you know, it becomes extremely difficult to gain access to opportunities that could improve your employment situation,” says Pandor. “Technology is one of the most powerful enablers of connectivity and through our platform we wanted to harness this potential to ensure that domestic workers can connect to as many employment opportunities in the most convenient way possible. .”
The platform enables domestic workers, who are predominantly women, to earn above market rates while empowering them to choose who they take work from, where and when it suits them – an opportunity that challenges control in the hands of an often exploited and underpaid group.
Foster a culture where all opinions matter
A fascinating exercise that really highlights the gender gap is to ask your friends which of them have impostor syndrome. “It’s much more common than you think, but nine times out of ten it’s women who experience it rather than men. It’s shocking that women still don’t feel worthy, in jobs they’ve worked hard to get or in businesses they’ve built from scratch. There is still so much work to do, but there is a very simple way to change the narrative and empower women: make sure they are present and their ideas are heard,” says Hayley van der Woude, Managing Director of Irvine Partners, a 100% women-owned and led company.
Additionally, it is crucial for companies to foster a culture where all opinions matter. “It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how subtle it can be to undermine someone,” says van der Woude. “Leaders need to take active steps to ensure their entire team is on board to listen to people and then take their ideas forward or share constructive feedback. This allows all team members – men, women, young, old – to come up with innovative ideas at any time. In this vein, we ensure that our performance reviews are two-way sessions focused on the growth of the individual but also on what the company could do better. Often our best projects, programs or ways of working come out of these sessions and it helps us maintain our edge. »
The future of work
The future of work must be inclusive for everyone, and companies must prioritize diversity and equality to eliminate institutional biases. Those who do will undoubtedly be in a better position to succeed.