International Women’s day has been celebrated on March 8th since 1913. The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. It's all about calling out gender bias and inequality when we see it. International Women’s Day is also about learning about and celebrating women’s achievements.
Women still face gender discrimination and gender inequality in the workplace today. According to the site UN Women:
“Globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men. Of 189 economies assessed in 2018, 104 economies still have laws preventing women from working in specific jobs, 59 economies have no laws on sexual harassment in the workplace, and in 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.”
These restrictions are just one reason why it's important to raise awareness about gender inequality.
In this article, we'll discuss how to raise awareness of gender bias and inequality with some practical steps you can take. We'll also examine some real life examples of companies that are working to improve gender equity.
What Is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on March 8th. This day celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and achievements of women.
International Women’s Day also is a day where people are encouraged to take action to accelerate women’s equality. People are also encouraged to speak out for gender parity.
Your business or organization can make difference. Read on to learn more.
Why Explore These Issues?
Because gender parity has been an issue for a long time, it can be tempting to think that the problems have been solved. But women still face many challenges in the workplace.
It's necessary to explore these issues because there's still gender inequality in the workplace and elsewhere. Here are just a few examples of the inequalities women face:
1. Unequal Pay
Even in 2021, women are still paid less then men. According to the UN Women site:
“Worldwide, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.”
2. Fewer Opportunities
Not only is there still gender inequality in the workplace, but there's less opportunity in the workplace for women as well. According to a recent report from the United Nations, many women still live in areas that have discriminatory laws:
"...it is estimated that more than 2.5 billion women and girls live in countries with at least one discriminatory law on the books. These statues restrict women’s ability to make decisions about marriage, divorce, and child custody; and to make choices about getting a job or starting a business, among others."
3. Fewer Women in Leadership Roles
Women earn more bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the United States than men. Despite having these degrees, women are underrepresented in leadership. According a CNN report, there were 37 women CEOs leading Fortun 500 companies in 2020:
“Even though the number of female CEOs is up, that's still only 7.4% of the Fortune 500 ranked businesses"
It's important to celebrate women’s achievements, but it's also important to raise awareness about the issues that women face today. This year's theme encourages you to challenge any inequality or bias by speaking out. You're also encouraged to question stereotypes and forge an inclusive world.
How to Raise Awareness Against Bias
Do you want to fix the gender inequality in your workplace? Are you thinking: how can we promote gender equality? Here are some tips to help:
1. Offer Gender Equality Training
In order to see any inequality and call it out, you need to recognize inequality when you see it. Offering gender equality training will give people a tool that they can use to become more knowledgeable.
Gender equality training teaches the value of women as employees and explains how they can be mistreated because of their gender. The goal is to help women rise to positions of power and increase their income.
There are many gender equality training resources available. Here's one that's available through the European Institute for Gender Equality. In the U.S., the site USAID provides a list of helpful resources about gender equality.
Gender equality training is just one of the many ways you can achieve gender equality in your workplace or business. For more information about gender equality, here's an article that goes more in depth:
2. Listen to Employees and Customers
Working on gender discrimination (or any discrimination) and overcoming it is a big task. Listen to your employees and customers on what works and what doesn’t. Make changes based on the feedback that's given.
Don't just listen to your employees though. Also make changes based on what they say. Through listening and making changes, you’ll be taking those steps toward gender equality in the workplace. Be sure to also listen to your customers. You’ll collect important data that'll help you create a safer and more fair environment for all.
This article has some suggestions on how to create a workplace culture that promotes diversity:
3. Encourage Your Employees
A part of getting feedback is encouraging your employees to speak up when they face gender inequality (or any inequality) in the workplace. Not only encourage the employees to speak up, but also allow them to speak up against the inequality without worrying about negative consequences.
For employees to speak up against gender inequality in the workplace, they must feel that it's safe to do so.
4. Support Organizations That Help Women
As a business, you can support organizations that know how to raise awareness for gender equality. Supporting an organization by donating is the easiest way to support a cause. Supporting them financially helps them to raise awareness and advance gender equality. If you can, it is best to support an organization that raises awareness in your community.
The International Womens Day site has a list of business that support women, or look for local organizations to support.
How to Take Action for Equality
Here are a few tips on how to take action against the gender inequality in your workplace:
1. Re-Examine Pay Structure
One of the common ways that women can face gender discrimination in the workplace is getting paid less for doing the same job as a man. According to the World Economic Forum:
“According to OECD data, the differential in men’s median income and women’s median income is about 13.5%.”
Women are often just as qualified and are doing the same work, but get paid less for it. Re-examine your pay structure and make sure that women are getting paid the same amount as other people in their position.
2. Review Policies
When tackling the gender inequality (or any inequality) in your workplace, look at the policies. Are the policies fair to everyone? Do your company policies make it harder for women and minorities to advance in the workplace?
If so, those policies need to be fixed to give everyone an equal opportunity to advance in the workplace.You might be wondering how you can help if you aren’t a woman. There are still ways that you can help.
3. Provide Mentorship Programs for Women
Mentoring is a great way to help women achieve leadership roles. Mentoring helps women to believe in their capabilities and confidence to mentor others. Mentoring also helps women to learn through experience, which makes them able to apply concepts immediately. This leads to better employee engagement within your company.
For more information on how to become a mentor in your company here is an article that can help:
4. Re-evaluate Benefits
Pay is just one area to examine. Study the other benefits that your company offers as well. For example, if your company offers health insurance, make sure that it covers women’s health issues along with men’s.
Taking these steps helps your company to create better opportunities for women in the workplace. Study this article to learn more steps you can take:
- How to Overcome the Gender Pay Gap and Other Pay Equity Problems in Your BusinessAndrew Blackman19 Jan 2019
5 Companies That Have Been Great for Women in Leadership
Some companies are further ahead in providing opportunities for women than others. Here are five organizations that have recently been recognized for providing more opportunities to women and a description of what they did:
1. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts was named on Diversity Women Media's 100 Best Companies for Women's Leadership in 2020.
Wyndham created the Women on Their Way program for female travelers based on feedback from customers. The success of this program led them to offer the same program to their female employees. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts took the initiative to ask their female employees and customers what they wanted and implemented changes based on the feedback.
Salesforce ranked first on UK's Workplaces for Women in 2020 by Great Place to Work UK.
Salesforce has made an ongoing commitment, not just to gender equity, but to equality for all. This includes increasing the number of women and minority groups employed as well as a commitment to equal pay.
A Forbes article listing the best UK companies for women included Unilever.
Here are just a few of the initiatives that Unilever offers:
- a gender balanced outreach program for STEM graduates
- networks for woment that provide opportunities
- paid time off for fertility procedures
- back up childcare if the regular childcare provider is unavailable
Accenture is on Glassdoor's list of incredible places for women to work.
47 percent of Accenture's new hires are women. The company has set a goal to have completely gender-balanced workforce by 2025. Other benefits that make this a good organization for women are flexible schedules, support groups, and mentorship programs.
5. Principal Financial Group
Principle Financial Group was named on Diversity Women Media's 100 Best Companies for Women's Leadership in 2020.
Principal Financial Group offers mentorship to women within their company. Also, they're overcoming the "glass ceiling" that's traditionally kept woment from leadership roles. According to DiversityWomenMedia:
"...one-third of the firm’s top executives are now women, as are 36 percent of its board members..."
The company also offers a training program that rotates women around the company. This gives women more experience in other fields. The rotation training program also lets the women find out what they are interested in nd what jobs they aren’t.
Learn More About International Women's Day
If you want more information on International Women’s day here are some articles that can help:
- 10 Benefits of Gender Equality in the Workplace (International Women's Day 2020)Sharon Hurley Hall08 Mar 2020
- 12 Tips to Overcome Gender Bias in the WorkplaceAndrew Blackman08 Mar 2019
- How to Overcome the Gender Pay Gap and Other Pay Equity Problems in Your BusinessAndrew Blackman19 Jan 2019
- How to Achieve Gender Equality in Your BusinessAndrew Blackman08 Mar 2017
Gender equality work is far from done. Women are still underrepresented in top positions. They're also still facing bias in the workplace.
What can you do to raise awareness about gender inequality? How can you fix gender inequality in your workplace?