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As an HR leader, I wanted to take a personal look back at the changes that have taken place in the workplace over the last 25 years regarding gender equality and what business leaders can do to advance it.
In the mid-90’s, my first two employers required women to wear a dress or skirt with nylons as part of their dress code, and they exhibited other, more subtle gender biases. Today, these standards would be considered obvious examples of inequality. Since then, I truly believe that workplace culture has progressed a great deal to address major inequalities. However, now we need to deal with those subtle biases that are unconsciously perpetuating discrimination in the workplace.
Business leaders should recognize excellence in all its forms and take every necessary step to cultivating equality in the workplace. In talking with HR leaders over the years, I have highlighted what actions are successful in creating gender parity.
Below is a list of 12 quick actionable steps any organization can take to start addressing gender inequality:
- Shine a light on inequality and create a culture of respect and fairness
- Assess company culture to identify genders inequalities and start a workplace dialogue on this in a non-judgmental way
- Avoid unconscious bias when reviewing job descriptions, hiring assessments, internships, etc.
- Ensure performance is gender blind and encourage a structured and transparent process that can expose unconscious bias for all performance-based processes, such as promotions, increases, etc.
- Encourage financial management and negotiation classes to build this life skill across all genders
- Gender neutrally coach and mentor all willing employees no matter their gender identification
- Review department configurations for gender imbalance
- Be conscious of gender-biased language when speaking or writing
- Create a program to address concerns without assigning blame if you think your culture might be unbalanced
- If you have concerns, start a non-adversarial conversation with leaders to understand their perspectives
- Provide life flexibility programs that understand that all genders have family commitments
- Encourage gender blind “bring your children to work programs”
Remember that the road to equality is a journey. I encourage you to look at yourself and your actions towards parity in the workplace; then, build upon them using the above checklist as a guide.
Every organization is different, but we all as humans inherently desire a fair and equitable place to work that offers us opportunities regardless of our gender identification. You have the power to create change or change your circumstances. If you are in an organization that feels unequal and there does not seem to be a willingness to change, you need to MOVE ON. Your time is VALUABLE, and you are VALUABLE; there are other organizations that will appreciate you and help you rise up!
I invite you to learn more about Nisum and our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace at a global level. We have started this journey of awareness and equality and look forward to partnering with others on this path. You can also check our job opportunities to see where you can join our team of women in tech.