Gender equality could be defined as the equal treatment of both male and female employees in the workplace. This includes equal pay, access to equal opportunities, advancement, and inclusion. It also extends to recognizing individual strengths, celebrating achievements, and creating a more inclusive culture. In spite of the number of progressive efforts taken towards equality these past few years, there is still a considerable gap that needs to be bridged to completely usher in gender equality in the workplace.
This International Women’s Day, let us take a step forward to incorporate a mental framework that aims at promoting gender equality in the workplace. Here are a few things everyone at the workplace should know and work towards to make the environment culturally sound and safe for both women and men.
Celebrate each others’ achievements and strengths equally
One of the leading reasons for the attrition of female workers is the lack of recognition. More women than men are affected by imposter syndrome(an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be) in the workplace (79 % of women vs 62% of men). Celebrating strengths and accomplishments equally not only raises the morale of the team but also instills an atmosphere of equality between genders. Rather than point out and communicate things that might have a negative effect, instill a system of communication where female coworkers can get equally recognized as their male colleagues and celebrated for skills that they are particularly good at.
The characteristics of being approachable are all about being accessible with the right verbal as well as nonverbal communication skills. It also means that the individual practicing is consciously breaking down perceived barriers and stereotypes to create an atmosphere around them that helps in building trust, confidence, and a strong bond between them and their colleagues.
Being approachable in the workplace eradicates the anxiety of other coworkers of both genders and makes them feel at ease. Female team members with approachable colleagues or managers are able to contribute more ideas, bring forth issues and get a feeling of safety and fair treatment.
Support Professional Development
Training programs on topics such as diversity and inclusion, implicit bias, and flexibility in the workplace help bring issues that female coworkers face on a day-to-day basis to the forefront of the organization. These programs help the facilitation and creation of new policies and programs that help bridge the gender inequality gap in the workspace and create better opportunities for professional development for women.
Creating an Open Minded Atmosphere
A broad and open-minded atmosphere is one of the biggest factors that help in creating and nurturing gender equality at the workplace. By building and promoting a culture that allows employees to know they are appreciated based on their performance and skills rather than external factors helps nurture gender equality not only at a superficial level but also at a microscopic level. The first step towards building an open-minded atmosphere is to understand team members at a personal level beyond gender and facilitate their individuality by creating an inclusive environment.
Accept and embrace individuality
One of the biggest, unconscious biases that women face in the workplace is the lack of acknowledgment of their individuality. It is imperative to understand and accept that not all women are the same and the expectation of certain qualities from them leads to unconscious gender bias. This can be combatted by understanding, embracing, and encouraging the free expression of their individuality and banish the stereotypical idea of femininity.
This by no means is a comprehensive list. These are a few key points that employers, managers, team leaders, male colleagues need to consider to promoting gender equality and make it a better place for women in the workplace.
One of our key values at Nineleaps is Inclusion and we work towards it by providing equal opportunities to all our employees. By listening and accepting a variety of opinions and perspectives that come from different people in the workplace, we are constantly reshaping our culture towards building an open-minded, inclusive environment.