Published at 2017, September 22th
Improving gender equality in the workplace could bring companies many benefits. Do you want your employer to promote gender equality at work? We’re sharing 6 good arguments to help you build up your pitch on why your company should have more equality between men and women.
What Is Happening With Gender Equality And How Is Women’s Corporate Situation Today?
Despite accounting for approximately half of the workforce in the United States and the world, women are still uncommon between the CEOs of the biggest organizations. According to Catalyst, as of January 1, 2019, there have been only 73 individual women in Fortune 500 CEO roles in total and back in 2018’s Fortune 500 list, only 24 women (4.8%) were CEOs. Furthermore, it’s estimated that only 24% of women have senior management roles globally.
At the same time, according to a World Economic Forum report, the economic gender gap has been reduced only by 3% between 2007 and 2017 and it will take 118 years to completely close the gap. Meantime, gender quotas in boards of directors and management roles, have been leading to very controversial discussions. Yet some companies and countries have been adopting mechanisms to try and close the gap.
Some solutions are easier than others, but overall, there seem to be no reasonable arguments to the fact that workplaces need to have a greater diversity and equality. Still, it may be difficult to progress in this area. Here are five unstoppable arguments to convince your employer or human resources department to seek more gender equality at your workplace.
Gender Equality Argument #1: It Improves Organizational Performance And Well-being At Work
A study by Credit Suisse shows a correlation between a work environment where gender equality is present and better organizational performance. In fact, gender equality in the workplace (and diversity in general) could provide a more global and holistic view of the challenges companies face. As a consequence, more effective solutions could be found to address these issues. Another study suggests that firms with more than 10% of women managers have incomes 41% higher on average than those with only 5%.
Work life quality is also likely to improve when more women are part of a company’s management board. According to a study conducted in the United States, on average, both male and female employees are more enthusiastic and committed to work when a woman is their direct manager. Overall, women look like they’d be better managers under certain circumstances. They tend to encourage their colleagues to work and better monitor their progress. In fact, employees with women managers say 1.26 times more than those managed by men that their development is encouraged in the company. And this is likely to create an exciting and more motivating environment.
Gender Equality Argument #2: It Makes It Easier To Understand And Target Consumers
Today companies are still very masculine at all levels: from directors to managers, marketing managers, designers… And yet, when it comes to buying a company’s products, women are the ones who purchase and use household items the most. In developed countries, between 70% and 85% of daily purchases are made by women. Yes, women have an extraordinary decision power as they decide on 68% of car purchases, 93% of agri-food purchases, and 92% of holidays and recreational activities. Men just seem to go along…
However, 91% of women consider that business marketing and the way products are designed are not adapted to their needs. To better target the needs of these consumers, it is necessary to get out of an overly masculine scheme of the company. Including women means potentially better understanding consumers’ needs and getting better insights on which products to create and design. Therefore, it can lead to a more global vision of the purchasing market and the chance to increase sales.
Gender Equality Argument #3 – The Attraction And Retention Of Talent Improves
47% of managers believe improving gender equality is also a way to attract top female talent. Think about how nearly 60% of masters graduates are women; they are the majority in almost all curricula. They represent 65% of law or political science graduates, 62% of medical graduates and around 60% of economics, management, or natural sciences graduates. Hence, improving gender equality will make the recruitment of these young talents easier as they’ll perceive a higher justice and equal chance of career progression and promotion.
In addition, Generation Y is particularly sensitive to these issues and young employees are increasingly attaching importance to gender equality in their job searches. At the same time, a study by David Kaplan also shows that a fair work environment where diversity is respected encourages employees to keep their jobs. This means that more gender equality suggests there is less organizational turnover. As a result, there are fewer costs by not having to spend time and money in new the processes of recruiting, selecting and onboarding new employees.
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Gender Equality Argument #4 – Corporate Reputation Goes A Level Up
Higher gender equality in companies is also about image and employer branding. Gender equality is increasingly being identified as a relevant factor in the brand’s reputation. Moreover, it is known that the youngest consumers are increasingly attaching importance to diversity issues. A brand that has proactive workplace diversity policies will improve its image and perhaps get these consumers into their market shares.
For many people, a brand’s reputation and ethics are more important purchasing criteria than the price of products. It is important to keep this argument in mind when facing employers.
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Gender Equality Argument #5 – Regulatory Risks Decrease
Improving gender equality in the workplace is also a regulatory issue: last year, nearly 1,500 French companies were subject to a formal notice as they failed to put in place a diversity improvement plan of their workforce and 47 have been legally or financially sanctioned. In addition, there have been examples of workplaces needing to pay female employees indemnities for having lower earnings than their male counterparts.
Given the growing public demand for gender equality, the regulatory environment could still be tightened at this level in the years to come. This is another reason why all companies should take the lead and develop parity both in terms of jobs and salaries.
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Gender Equality Argument #6 – It Boosts Innovation, Especially In (Tech) Startups
According to Innovate Europe: Competing for Global Innovation Leadership, the diversity of mindsets and knowledge will drive more diverse and user-centric ideas and solutions. According to this report, the need to create innovated ecosystems for new technology can work as an excuse to change old patterns and promote diversity. The authors also say that: “it is especially important to have diverse teams of innovators – not only to tap all pools of potential creativity but because new technologies can reflect the unconscious biases of the teams that develop them.”
At the same time, studies like the ones from Michigan University also state that groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers. Women and minority members improve problem-solving because they bring their different perspectives and unique experiences to the table.
Do not hesitate! With these 6 arguments, you have enough to convince your boss to further improve gender equality at your workplace.
Image credits: women management on Shutterstock, women office on Shutterstock, consumer on Shutterstock, employee assessment on Shutterstock, idea innovation on Shutterstock and regulation work on Shutterstock