Need for a Gender Equality Strategy to Actualize Women’s Empowerment


The Glass Ceiling and the Persistent Problem of Gender Discrimination

More often than not, corporates pay lip service to gender equality wherein they have a gender policy in place without much changing on the ground.

Indeed, most corporates worldwide are mandated by the law to have a clear policy that deters sexual harassment at the workplace and puts in place measures to check discrimination against women in the workplace.

Further, in recent years, there has been a concerted move by global corporations to promote gender equality at the workplace by promising to promote women and shatter the so-called “glass ceiling”.

The term glass ceiling refers to the phenomenon wherein women in corporates fail to advance in their careers and the organizational hierarchy beyond a point and instead, are thwarted from progressing further through a combination of visible and invisible barriers.

However, studies have shown that despite these claims, only one among the four layers of senior management have women in leadership positions and moreover, women, even in the top layers are typically paid 20% less than their male counterparts.

Thus, it is clear that having a Gender Equality Policy works only on paper and without corresponding action to back it up, it remains as though that the corporates do not want to “Walk the Talk” where gender equality and women’s empowerment are concerned.

Need for a Gender Equality Strategy

This brings us to the next point and which is that, corporates need to have a Gender Equality Strategy that goes beyond the stated Gender Equality Policy and which lays down a clear strategy map detailing what is sought to be achieved, how it would be achieved, and the measures that would be used to track and monitor the progress.

In other words, in a manner similar to how corporates have a Marketing Strategy or a Five Year Growth Strategy, they also need to have a Gender Equality Strategy since most corporate leaders swear by strategies that define what is the starting point, where to go and how to get there, and how to know whether they are on the right path.

Thus, like with all strategies, this Gender Equality Strategy must have clearly defined targets such as having women in leadership, middle management, and entry-level positions as a clear percentage of the total employees, milestones such as how much time it would take and how to measure progress using data, and more importantly, what is the best possible path to get there.

This means that there is a need to collect data and use metrics to actualize the gender equality strategy and considering the fact that data and metrics are as essential to any strategy as they are to the senior leadership to track progress, any attempt to actualize a gender equality strategy would only work when rigorous and robust data collection and metrics tracking systems are put in place.

What is a Gender Equality Scorecard and how does it help?

A recent development among some corporates is to have a Gender Equality Scorecard wherein in a manner similar to the HR Scorecard, organizations align their overall policies with the gender policy and note down a list of points that specify the milestones and the specifics of each strategy as part of the overall gender equality strategy.

Indeed, a Gender Equality Scorecard would go a long way in helping the corporates “put their money where their mouth is” or in other words, ensure that they have specific bullet points as part of the strategy and which are aligned with the overall strategy. In addition, using industry benchmarks to measure and track progress and to compare how one is doing vis--vis the others would be especially useful.

Actualizing the Gender Equality Strategy

A well articulated Gender Equality Strategy would go a long way in addressing concerns about the poor representation of women in the organizational hierarchy and to assuage anxieties related to discrimination and harassment at the workplace.

For the strategy to be successful, the formulators of such a strategy have to engage with multiple stakeholders including external experts on the issue, women employees themselves, and the leadership at all levels.

Further, using the Gender Equality Scorecard, organizational executors of the strategy would have a clear path to actualizing such a strategy which would go a long way in promoting women’s empowerment.

Apart from this, some experts also feel that the outcomes of the gender equality strategy must be tied to the remuneration and bonuses of leadership so that there is a real attempt to address the concerns related to an abysmal representation of women that are plaguing contemporary corporates.

In addition, another area of concern which is the gap between the pay of male and women employees can also be addressed through a scorecard based approach that aligns the work and reward matrix to be more amenable to women.

In other words, the pay must be commensurate with the work that women employees do and there should not be any pay gap between men and women doing similar jobs.

Conclusion

Lastly, it is high time that contemporary corporates took the idea of gender equality seriously and this is where a clearly articulated and flawlessly executed gender equality strategy would do a world of good to them to ensure that they back up their words with action. To conclude, with gender issues dominating the discourse, corporates must also rise to the occasion and ensure that the long pending and long discussed issues related to gender and workplace equality and equity are addressed without delay.


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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.