Gender Equality in the workplace
Gender inequality in the workplace is an important topic to consider as you grow and develop your business. Discrepancies with gender inequality may occur, and your business should take the necessary steps to make your workplace as equal, inclusive and diverse as possible.
When you take the time to avoid gender discrimination, you can increase productivity, alleviate conflict and reduce the chances of legal issues. Gender equality is key in order to capture the skills, ideas and perspectives that each gender has to offer. Not only that, but people want to work at companies that prioritize equality. In fact, according to an Indeed survey, 55% of job seekers said it’s very or extremely important to work at a company that prioritizes diversity and inclusion.*
What is gender equality in the workplace?
Gender equality in the workplace means employees of all genders have access to the same rewards, opportunities and resources at a company, including:
- Equal pay and benefits for comparable roles with similar responsibilities
- Equal opportunities for promotions and career progression
- Equal consideration of needs
Education: Literacy Rate Goes up
While at one time, girls were just supposed to do household work and not go to school, the times have changed tremendously and now women and men work hand in hand in all kinds of jobs and have an equal right to a proper education. The world literacy rate of adult females (ages 15 and above) has gone up from 77.7% in 2005 to 82.6% in 2016 according to World Bank Data. In India too, the female literacy rate has seen a drastic increase from 50.82% in 2006 to 62.98% in 2015. Though the Indian statistics are much lower than the world’s, the direction seems to be right.
Social Reforms Empowering Women
While India has long illegalised derogatory practices like Sati, child marriage and female foeticide, the recent reforms taken to further uplift the status of females in society are applause-worthy. On 22 August 2017, the Indian Supreme Court passed a judgement which made the practice of instant Triple Talaq (Talaq-e-Biddat) unconstitutional. This judgement was further followed by the the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill passed by Lok Sabha on 28 December 2017.
Also, the ancient Sabarimala Temple in Kerala that had barred women aged 10-50 from entering. On 28 September 2018, the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the temple and follow their devotion and religion calling the practice of exclusion based on menstruation to be a form of ‘untouchability’ which was in violation of the Constitution.
Middle Eastern Country Reforms: More Freedom to Women
The Middle Eastern Countries which are widely known for their oppressive laws for females and the parda system which bars women from showing their faces, have also come a long way. Though the progress in uneven in different countries, it is progress. On 24 June 2018, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban and allowed women to drive. Though women are now getting political recognition, there is still much to be done in relation to laws for crimes against women.
Female Representation in Different Professions
As opposed to earlier times when women participation in professions was limited to a few fields like medicine and teaching, today, women are a part of almost all industries. Though not the optimal number of females are seen on the panels but they are being given a chance nonetheless. In October 2018, Gita Gopinath was appointed as the first woman IMF Chief Economist. Apart from this, women can now be seen at top positions in several fields like Mary Barra (CEO of General Motors), Janet Yellen (Chair of Federal Reserve of US), Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo), Hillary Clinton (Presidential Candidate of US) and many more.
The benefits of gender equality
Gender equality benefits everyone. This is one of the reasons it’s number 5 in the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. Research from Catalyst has shown that the more gender-equal companies are, the better it is for both male and female employees. The happier the labour force is, they lower the job turnover, with higher levels of job satisfaction and productivity.
In the US, 56% of college admissions are women. This trend is not just reserved to the US, with similar patterns across the UK and worldwide. If these highly educated women are leaving the labour force to have children, the labour market is missing out on workers with high human capital.
Accenture has found that a culture of equality in a workplace environment helps everyone advance to higher positions. It’s a powerful multiplier of innovation and growth, and innovation translates to economic potential. If people have equal opportunities, and feel a sense of belonging they’re powered to innovate even more, creating a multiplier effect.
- Usually, childbirth is one of the key factors influencing a women’s career. Maternity leaves and lesser productivity at the workplace are some of the repercussions of childbirth. But, this also points to a need for change in the culture. Childcare should be shared by the mother and father alike. The role of a caregiver should be shared by both the parents. Some companies are now providing childcare leaves to both parents so that the onus of childcare is shared by the two.
Unfair Treatment :-
- Women are often treated in an unfair manner in workplaces. Again, systemically no discrimination exists as it is prohibited by Law. Only social and cultural constructs for women are the reason behind it.
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From the above information, it can be clearly seen that systemically, gender equality in the workplace doesn’t exist. There are no laws/rules/regulations prohibiting women into any field (except defense). Inequality exists due to social/cultural reasons alone. The cultural and social restrictions placed on women which leads to inequality of opportunity should be dealt with.
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