Ever since I put the post about gender inequality on my blog I’ve been thinking about what should be done to beat it or at least reduce it. There are many reasons that gender inequality still exists and many areas of life that it affects However, I want to start by looking at gender inequality in the workplace. If women are stuck in low level jobs mainly held by women, and are consistently paid less than men for the same work, this affects all other areas of their lives.
As Hillary Clinton said in a speech accepting her award as the Girls Inc. 2017 Champion for Girls Award, “In big ways and small, the unfinished business of the 21st century is the full equality of women. There are still too few women in the upper reaches of the private sector, academia, science, technology, not to mention politics and government”.
So what can we do about it? Well there are two sides to the equation – what we as women can do to advance ourselves, and what employers should be doing. Actually there’s an overriding issue which is systemic discrimination against women. But let’s start with something a bit more manageable – how employers treat their female workforce.
An important first step in overcoming gender discrimination and inequality is to recognize that it’s actually happening. Start talking about it – especially if you’re the one getting discriminated against. No one should be treated unfairly. Talking about discrimination or inequality brings the issue out into open so it can be addressed. Once an employer is aware that discrimination is occurring, it’s their responsibility to make sure it’s addressed appropriately.
But being able to spot gender discrimination is only the first step, and managers must also be taught to how to deal with it and prevent it from happening again in the future. An organization should provide proper training on gender equality to all management and supervisors. Managers must be taught what constitutes gender discrimination and inequality, and how to identify both the obvious and not so obvious signs that gender discrimination is occurring.
One very important step that an employer can take in making sure they have a more balanced workforce is to avoid interview panels that are 100% men. It is a human trait to want to work with people that are like us and this often leads to men employing or promoting other men, rather than women.
In my next post I’m going to talk about how we as women can hold ourselves back from applying for jobs or promotions – have you heard of the imposter syndrome? I’ll also be doing another interview and posting it in a couple of weeks. In the meantime what ideas do you have about reducing gender inequality?