15 Ways to Champion Women's Equality and Inclusion
International Women's Day was all the rage for about 12 hours on Monday. Feeds were filled with inspiring quotes, photos and messages for change.
And then it was Tuesday.
Like every year, the world went online to shout about change and justice before quietly going back to their emails.
Not okay. Change requires action. So today we're offering 15 things you can do today to actually promote diversity and equality for women in your own workplace.
Analyse Your Current Situation
1. Leadership Roles - what percentage of your leadership roles are held by women?
2. Equal Pay - do men and women with similar jobs and responsibilities make the same amount of money? Are women receiving less money for the same roles?
3. Recruiting Practices - could any step in your recruiting process put one gender at a disadvantage? This can include job descriptions that imply the role is for men as well as questions about whether a female candidate intends to have children.
4. Career Progression Opportunities - does your current process favour men? Are you promoting women at the same rate? Are there obstacles in place that make it harder for women to reach more senior levels?
5. Dismissals and Layoffs - are you making the women in your company redundant more often? Have women been fired for voicing their opinions or concerns of unequal treatment?
6. Preferential Treatment - is your day to day communication and tone different when speaking to women? Are you offering the same social and professional opportunities?
7. Preferential Policies - do policies exist that may actually create disadvantages to the women in the workplace?
8. Sexual Harassment & Sexist View - does sexist commentary, outdated gender stereotypes or mansplaining exist in the workplace? Is it being strongly rejected by your team or tolerated?
Start Today - Be The Change
So what can you do? For starters, make sure you confront the questions above with complete honesty and transparency. Only when we admit error, can we begin to resolve the problem.
These are tough questions, but they require real answers.
As a leader you may not be aware of how certain processes are affecting the women in your organisation. So ask these questions to your team and make sure women are part of the conversation because their perspective is actually on point. Have open, honest conversations and begin working on solutions.
15 Actions to Take Right Now
Here are real, actionable ideas to get you started on a path towards gender equality and diversity today.
- Pay equal salaries based on performance and responsibility - not gender. Ensure men and women are receiving equal pay for equal roles and performance.
- Create equal opportunities for progression and promotion. Ensure the requirements for promotion are not in favour of one gender.
- Modify and publish your recruiting process to minimise the probability of gender bias.
- Make sure the working environment provides equal consideration of the needs of all genders.
- Make training on diversity and inclusion a key part of your onboarding process.
- Provide a mandatory workshop on diversity and inclusion to the entire organisation.
- Create and clearly communicate strict anti-harassment policies to eliminate it from your culture.
- Provide a safe path for women to confidently voice their concerns about injustices or discomfort they experience.
- Establish equal parental leave.
- Offer a flexible work scheduling, childcare opportunities, and family-friendly policies with no gender difference.
- Copy existing programs which aim to advance women in leadership positions.
- Provide mentorship or coaching opportunities for women and men by both women and men (women are fantastic mentors too).
- Support women-owned businesses and side-hustles.
- Promote the successes of the women in your company, both internally and externally through social media. Acknowledge, highlight, and celebrate their achievements all-year-long, not only on March 8th or November 25th.
- Make sure to use inclusive language in your internal and external communications (emails, marketing material, social media, website...). For instance, instead of using "mankind", say "humankind". Instead of "spokesman" say "spokesperson". Inclusive language acknowledges diversity and promotes respect to men, women and non-binary.
These are just a few ideas you can work on today.
Ultimately however, gender equality cannot just be a checklist. You must endeavour to make gender equality a key part of your culture.
The equal inclusion of women is not just the right thing to do. It's also the best path forward to ensure our society and our organisations have access to their incredible talents and voices. And in the end, companies will benefit from a more motivated workforce treated with equality.