Gender equality has become a hot topic in the corporate world. Despite diversity workshops and programs to promote women in leadership, many gender equality initiatives fall flat. In order to break down the longstanding hurdles that lead to inequality at the workplace, CEOs must start stepping up and implementing company-wide changes.
Foster a Gender-Equal Business Culture
Rather than just holding non-discrimination meetings and diversity workshops, CEOs can set an example by implementing gender-equality practices into the company's day-to-day routine. This can include mentoring professional women who show strong potential, ensuring female employees are present for big, decision-making meetings and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
Ensure Equal Pay and Career Opportunities
Salary by job title, merit-based pay and hourly wages should all reflect gender equality. CEOs should be especially wary of improper maternity leave policies that impact women's wages unfairly. To take another step forward, look deeper into the companies your organization does business with, avoiding those that clearly support unequal pay. CEOs should also ensure that different career doors are open to men and women equally. Both genders should have the same access to potential promotions, career development programs and mentoring opportunities.
Implement Flexible Policies
Parents, both men and women, have a difficult time finding a work-life balance, but CEOs can make things easier by implementing gender-neutral flexible work policies. Ample vacation and family leave, opportunities to work from home on occasion, and generous maternity and paternity leave benefits are a few cornerstones.
Make Gender Equality a Priority
CEOs have the power to make gender equality a business goal, a commitment which helps leaders on every tier to prioritize the issue. This also allows initiatives and policies to find their way into the company's daily activities swiftly. One concrete way to implement gender equality as a business goal is to create goals across the organization, which may include a percentage of women in leadership and management positions, a certain number of women in mentorship programs and pay equality.
Gather Talent Data
If CEOs want to start meeting gender equality goals, gathering current data is a crucial first step. Find out the gender disparity of new talent being hired, the percentage of women in management roles and the percentage of women versus men being promoted. Sharing these numbers with employees is an important step in conveying the reality of gender disparity while providing accountability as you strive to improve your statistics.
Gender equality is a long road that companies can't reach with one or two initiatives. If organizations want to truly make a difference for a better corporate future, CEOs must take matters into their own hands. What are a few examples of daily practices leaders can pursue to promote workplace gender equality?
Photo courtesy of ILaw TH at Flickr.com
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