Women have come a long way in the workplace. However despite the progress, women are still facing setbacks in the workplace based on gender bias. According to a report by the nonprofit Catalyst, women compromise 46.6 percent of the workforce in the U.S. yet only 4 percent are CEOs. There’s still a gender divide in the workforce with women dominating the fields of clerical, service and healthcare. Women still don’t earn equal pay, either. For every dollar a man makes, women only make 77 cents.
Women work harder and longer than men to get promoted. According to one example by the National Center for Education Statistics, women have to work three years longer than their male counterparts in a teaching position to be promoted to a principal.
Despite the setbacks and harsh realities, women aren’t going to let this prevent them from working and going to school. In fact, there are more women earning bachelor’s degrees (57.2 percent) and master’s degrees (60.3 percent) than men, but it isn’t increasing their earning power. A study by the American Association of University Women reported that college-educated women earn 5 percent less the first year out of school than their male peers.
Women face a lot of challenges in the workplace, especially if it’s dominated by men. There’s the challenge of confronting the “old boys club” atmosphere. The exclusion from after-work drinks or the challenges of addressing sexual harassment and sexist language are some of the things women face the workplace. It’s hard for women to become “one of the boys.” More than ever, offices are working towards eliminating gender bias and balancing the scales of opportunity for both genders.
One of the most important and effective ways to make the workplace more female friendly is to provide diversity training to all employees at the start of their employment. Creating an atmosphere of inclusion and tolerance from the beginning will prevent future incidents of discrimination. Encouraging employees to accept and respect each other will eliminate bias. Although it’s hard to erase years of practiced gender bias, having diversity training is a good start. If the right employees are hired, you’ll have a great atmosphere of respect.
Making women feel accepted and comfortable in the office should be a main priority. Organize a group for women in the workplace. This safe environment is perfect for women to bond and think of new ways to improve the organization. Going along with women groups, think about adding a mentor program for women. Women who want to be successful look up to other successful women. Having this type of mentor program will make women more comfortable in the workplace, and it will give them more guidance and motivation to succeed in moving up to management positions.
Have your organization show that you care about women’s needs. Surprisingly, the U.S. is still one of the few countries that aren’t required to offer paid maternity leave. The addition of a new child creates more financial burden not only for women, but for their spouses as well. Offer paid maternity leave, access to child care, flexible schedules and health insurance benefits that cover mammograms and other important health screens.
Overall, it’s important to make the workplace more female friendly by offering equal pay, allowing access to upper management, creating a respectful atmosphere and other adjustments that benefit both men and women. A woman’s earning power, or lack thereof, impacts her entire family. Have your organization set an example for others by providing a female friendly workplace.
What, if anything, does your company do to make it a more female friendly environment? Do you feel all of this is necessary or further works to separate women in the office? Let us know in the comments section below!
SOURCE: Catalyst, Catalyst2, Great Place to Work, American Progress
IMAGE: Courtesy of Corporate Voices