Closing the Gender Gap at Your Company
The phrase “gender gap” has been buzzing through human resource departments in recent years. It refers to the discrepancy in opportunities, attitudes, status, and particularly, pay between men and women in workplaces across the country and the globe. Women hit a theoretically “glass ceiling” and seem unable to advance to the next level of their career. This previously unacknowledged barrier to women (and minorities) in the workplace is now being highlighted, and companies are working fervently to combat the impacts. Keep reading for how the gender gap operates at companies today and what you should know about closing the gender gap at your workplace.
The gender gap then and now
The gender gap has a long and complex history. Even in the 1960s, newspapers were listing jobs separately for men and women and pay didn’t come close to comparable. Even as time change with education and workplace advancement (women now outnumber men in higher education), change has still yet to occur in how women are compensated in the workplace.
Today, white women are slowly creeping closer to around 90 percent of men’s pay. Unfortunately, these statistics generally leave out the other gaps that also occur within the gender gap. The most notable of these are the racial pay gaps and the family pay gaps. While white women may earn around 90 percent of what men (as a gender category) earn in the workplace today, there are still evident gaps between how much white women make compared to women of color. For example, for every $1.00 a white man earns, each white woman earns $0.77, and each Native American woman earns $0.58. Furthermore, women without families often earn more than women with children. These statistics indicate that there’s much to be done in terms of our advocacy for workplace progression and transparency regarding pay within companies.
What you should know
This problem might seem too large for any one person to fix alone, and that might be true, but baby steps can help your company close the gender gap in your workplace.
1. Make diversity a value. When diversity becomes a core value in your workplace, it becomes hard to disagree that everyone should be compensated equally. Diversity allows more perspectives to be share and benefits the company holistically, which is why it should be emphasized (particularly in human resources).
2. Be transparent about pay. Nothing ever gets fixed behind closed doors. If you want your company to grow, you need to invest in your employees and leaders. Being more transparent about pay can help you address the current inequities.
3. Provide women networks. External and internal networks can allow women the support they need to (hopefully) break through that glass ceiling. Start instituting these networks for the women in your workplace so that they can gain mentorship, take risks, and step out of their comfort zone.
The gender gap is a difficult issue, and it’s one that’s being highlighted every day in the workplace. As human resources professionals, you can start by taking the three steps above. Instituting diversity as a value, making pay transparent, and providing women with the networks they need to grow can help to change your workplace for the better!