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Women in the Workforce: How to Treat Female Employees at WorkEmployee Relations GENERAL Management People Development Productivity March 6, 2018
Feminist movements have been fighting for gender equality to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, including in the workplace. While the number of women’s participation in the workforce keeps increasing each year, are female workers treated equally as their male counterparts?
Promoting gender equality at work goes beyond allowing women to go to work and have a professional career. More than that, companies should promote and enforce equal respect to the employees regardless of their race and gender. Unfortunately, while more companies are committing in gender equality, the progress remain slow because there remains unaddressed blind spots when it comes to diversity at work.
Recent study by McKinsey suggested that women remain underrepresented at every level in American corporates, and even across the world. Among the reasons is because many employees believe that women are well-represented in leadership, while there are actually only few of them. Since they have been comfortable with such status quo, they do not see the urgency for change. Additionally, many men worry that gender diversity efforts might disadvantage their positions at the workplace so they are less committed to the issue.
While in fact, there are various real benefits that companies can reap when implementing gender diversity at work. Not only widening the talent pools, having more female employees on the team will also boost your business reputation as people will seek careers with companies that demonstrate strong commitment in driving diversity and equality. Not to mention, inclusive workforce will also breed satisfaction and increase employee engagement that will lead to improved performance.
Here are some tips on how you should treat female workers professionally and create gender-friendly in the workplace:
Provide equal opportunities
When the word ‘leader’ is mentioned, there are good chances that most people will associate this position with men rather than women. This could be attributed to the belief that men are better than women when it comes to decision making and demonstrate better leadership skills. However, this stereotype is not necessarily true, because there are many successful women leaders in the world proving that women can do more when they are given equal opportunities to shine.
Therefore, you should not underestimate women’s position and ignore their voices by providing equal career path as men. Give your female workers chances to show their potentials by allowing them to lead the team for particular project. You should always asses your employees based on their competences instead of gender preference.
Close the gender pay gap
McKinsey study suggested that gender inequality often starts at the very first promotion. Despite women increasingly pursuing the same degrees as men, fewer women than men are hired at the entry level. Even when they land the job, women tend to earn less than their male colleagues. This is because many companies ask candidates how much they were paid in the previous jobs. Unless you break this practice, women employees will keep earning less wages than men. Therefore, it is crucial for leaders to conduct payroll audit and assessment in order to see if your employees deserve better than they currently get.
Offer paid menstrual leave
It is inevitable that men are women have biological differences. Every month, women experience a period or menstruation, something that does not happen to men. When their period comes, women tend to be weaker and even emotionally unstable because it affects physically and psychologically. While not all women experience painful and horrid menstruation, such condition might impact their productivity and efficiency at work. Therefore, you should offer paid menstrual leave for the first and second day of menstruation so they can take a rest and come back to work in better mood and health.
Treat them as a woman
While women need gender equality at work, there remain some treatments that cannot be applied equally to both men and women. For example, because women have higher sensitivity to get stress than men, sometimes you might witness your female workers get emotional and even shed tears when they are scolded over a failure to deliver expected results or performance. While this might seem like a trivial thing, ignoring this will cause troubles for the team in the long run. Therefore, you should treat them as an employee, without ignoring the fact that they are women.
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