Today, on Friday 8 March, we celebrate International Women’s Day across the world.
For many, it’s a day to celebrate women’s achievements; for others, it’s a reminder and call-to-action to continue pushing for gender equality.
One of the key areas in which we see a lack of gender equality is in the workforce, where there remains a clear difference between the way women and men are treated and valued.
In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017 has predicted that it will take over two centuries to achieve gender parity across the world – with another 217 years of inequality for female workers.
The gender gap in Australia’s workforce
- In Australia, women account for 34% of senior managers and 16% of chief executives in the private sector.
- Recent research from three separate organisations shows senior female managers earn, on average, $93,000 less per year than their male equivalents.
- In large publicly listed companies, only 5% of ASX 200 CEOs are women.
- High-level female managers earn an average of 5% less than male managers.
- Women are also still significantly outnumbered when it comes to working in STEM-related studies and careers, making up only one in four IT graduates and fewer than one in 10 engineering graduates.
How employers and managers can promote gender equality
As a start, you can:
- Aim for an equal target of representation of each gender in employment and leadership roles.
- Make sure that women and men who are doing the same role (for example, two engineers or two senior leaders) are paid the same amount of money.
- Ensure female employees are involved in policy and decision-making processes.
- Always be inclusive, making sure women are equally represented in delegations, speaking panels and boards.
By working to address inequality, and encourage a higher representation of female leadership, you'll be pressing for progress in this area.
Your organisation will also benefit from having more women in leadership roles, as you’ll be encouraging greater diversity of thought and experience – something that is highly valuable in any industry.
What employees can do to support women in the workplace
It’s not just CEOs and employers who can make a difference in improving gender equality in the workplace.
Employees are also encouraged to look closely at how their female colleagues are treated and valued in the workplace. Let International Women’s Day be a reminder to speak up about gender inequality when you see it.
The International Women’s Day website has excellent suggestions for how individuals – women, men and non-binary people – can create positive change within their own spheres of influence. In doing this, male employees can help to address gender bias in the workplace, becoming better champions and allies for equality.
Commit to taking positive action today – and every day
- Question any lack of women's participation
- Query all-male speaking panels
- Always use inclusive language
- Ensure credit is given for women's contributions
- Supportively call-out inappropriate behaviour
- Lead by example via inclusive actions
- Challenge stereotypes and bias
- Call it out when women are excluded
- Identify alternatives that are more inclusive
- Think "50/50" as the goal