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Gender Equity
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To Gender Equity and Beyond!!

Understanding Gender Equity

March 8 marks International Women’s Day and the focus continues to be how to find innovative approaches to advance gender equality and to empower women.  There are many gaps that impact women in today’s workplace. One that has significant impact on life in general is pay equity.

Even with laws such as the Equal Pay act of 1963, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Fair Wage Act signed by President Obama in 2009, in reality there hasn’t been much progress. Today’s female still earns approximately 23% less than their male counterparts doing the same job with the same experience. It takes a female working 94 days more than their male counterpart to be equally compensated. According to World Economic Forum, women will wait 217 years for pay gap to close. Instead of making progress toward gender parity, we are ‘shifting into reverse’.

Gender GapDefining Gender Gap

The gender gap is unequal treatment based on gender alone. It’s important to recognize that gender is not confined to its binary conception by sex, but rather, is defined with reference to social and cultural differences. This means gender gaps include more than women being discriminated against, but also includes transgender, non-binary, gender neutral, and other gender identities.

How the Gender Gap Effects Minority Pay

Not every employer sees gender as a cultural and societal difference but still reference gender to biological sex and in extension- race. Minority women also face gender discrimination more so at the hand of racial discrimination, access to education, disability, age and pay.

  • Hispanic or Latina women have the largest gender gap. They earn 53 percent of Caucasian men’s salary.
  • Black or African American women earn 61 percent of Caucasian men’s salary compared to 89 percent of Black or African American men.
  • Caucasian (non-Hispanic) women earn 77 percent of Caucasian men’s salary.
  • Asian women earn 85 percent of Caucasian men’s salary.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native earn 58 percent of Caucasian men’s salary.
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander earn 62 percent of Caucasian men’s salary.

So, what can companies do to make progress and change gender inequality?  Here are some practical recommendations to encourage closing the gender gap.

9 Ways to Close the Gender Gap

  1. Review HR practices where bias can impact hiring, development, promotions and other evaluative policies and practices. Evaluate and formalized the practices of hiring and evaluating so they are focused on achievement criteria rather than personality and other biases that impact those decisions.
  2. Educate managers and workers about bias, gender inequalities based on assumptions and stereotypes.
  3. Develop tools that help measurably reduce bias and inequality.
  4. Audit the current pay structure of your company to work towards eliminating the pay gap among genders. Do not ask a candidate what their salary was at their previous job; instead, provide an outline for pay brackets and salary for each position.
  5. Emphasize work-life balance. A leading cause in the gender gap is the lack of consideration for the role of family.  Provide flexible schedules to accommodate childcare- or provide childcare- and offer extended paid or unpaid parental leave for mothers and fathers.
  6. Implement a mentorship program. Minority genders are at a disadvantage when it comes to networking and advancement opportunities. Expand the idea of mentorship among men, women, and all genders to increase opportunities for women and minority genders.
  7. Stop sexual harassment. One in four women have been sexually harassed at work. It is the responsibility of management to exhaust all efforts to stop the harassment. Letting such workplace conduct continue fuels gender inequality.
  8. Set an example at the top. Cultural shifts in the workplace will only happen if the leaders, set the example.
  9. Create inclusive environments. There is a difference between saying you are inclusive and being inclusive. Adapt business practices to accommodate the gender roles women have.

Gender Equity in the Future

The gender gap will not be solved overnight but is a continual process. However, starting the change is the most important step that you can take as a business owner and employer. Demonstrating that all employees feel valued, regardless of their gender identity will send a strong message that your company truly cares for their employees and works hard to create a more inclusive and productive workplace.

Source: Phys Org, “New approach to reducing gender inequality at work,” Alex Shashkevich, Dec. 20, 2017

Source: Harvard University, “Gender inequality and women in the workplace”, Nov. 15, 2018

Source: Next Generation, “5 things employers can do to improve gender equality in the workplace”,  Feb. 2018

Source: AAUW, “The simple truth about the gender pay gap”, Deborah J. Vagins,  Fall 2018

Source: Learn How to Become, “Closing the gender gap”, Julie Holunga, Jenni Brozena, Dec. 10, 2015


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Let’s start with the little things that reveals the author bias. Simple terms can reveal a lot about how a person feels. For example, all the way through the article women are referred to as “female”. Wouldn’t the appropriate counterpart be “male”, instead of man? The article refers to “Hispanics”, a proper term, but it insists on calling causasians “white”. Those two simple things makes the article sound like it’s condemning “white men”. “Caucasian male” would take a lot of the sting out of a term that carries its own unsavory flavor.

    And then the author goes on to attempt to redefine “gender equality” by lumping every other form of inequality with it. At that point it’s generalized inequality, not a new definition for “gender inequality”.

    Still, the spirit of the article was well intentioned, right up to the point the author called for giving a woman “greater flexibility” due to the female role in a family. At the point it became a bias article going the other way – calling for giving women more for doing the same job.

    In times past men gave up their family time so they could hunt and put food on the table. In more recent times men when out and got a job, giving up their family time. Hence the greater “woman’s role in family” was born. Let me put it as gently as possible. Ladies, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

    To some extent women live under the curse of their history. Every woman who has gotten where she is by less than honest means (“Here, let me open my blouse and see if that doesn’t make me more qualified”), every woman who has ever filed a sexual harrassment suit (whether they were deserved or not), every woman who has used their womanhood as an excuse for any business related event (Yes I once had a woman say “My cramps are bad, I have to go home” and she honestly didn’t expect to face the same penalty as anyone else who went home early) has made businesses leery of women.

    Having said all of that, I am a firm supporter of the idea that any woman who is willing to do the same job (“Oh, I cod never do that, it’s just icky.” Yep, heard that one, too.) Put in the same hours, certainly deserves the same pay. But how many of them really want to?

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. We’ll make some of these changes ASAP. It’s actually nice to know someone is paying attention! Regards, Spectra

      1. Well done. Implementing those changes made the article a clean and balanced read. Now I can say “I agree”.

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