“That is not a girls job,” “You can’t go hunting with your father because you are a girl: you have to stay with your mother and help her cook,” “Football is for guys not for girls.” Almost every girl has heard these kinds of sentences in her childhood. Gender Equality? It all starts from the very beginning when girls are raised as the weak ones, the ones who have to know how to cook, take care of the house, take care of men, and also be smart and educated to be able to raise their children. And men are then raised to know that girls are weaker.
What is gender equality? It is the state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender. We achieve gender equality when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society. This includes economic participation and decision-making. And we really achieve it when different behaviors, aspirations, and needs of women and men are equally valued. Gender equality is not only a human right, but it is a necessity for having a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Now, if we want to make a change, we have to start from the beginning: for the way, we raise the next generation. But for now, let’s think of ways to create gender equality in the workplace.
It’s all about your management style
First and foremost, your managers have to enhance “gender equality” into their management style. Usually, people get into management jobs based on their stellar performance as an individual contributor. That seems fine because that is what we all were used to. But managing people takes much more. Remember: managers can make or break a company. They can put their heart into their work; take care of your company like it is their own baby or just not care. Your managers need to know relevant employment laws. For example, a good manager has to know that he/she can’t treat people differently based on gender. A manager has to reward employee performance, not time in the office. And when punishing an employee, the manager can’t treat people differently. So get your managers trained. And make your company great! The kind of great that attracts great people: male and female.
It’s all about the right steps
Incorporate these steps into your management style. First, to stay clear of unconsciously discriminating and not being equal to men and women, remove names from the resume screening process. Only select candidates for interviews taking into consideration whatever is really important. And really important are education, experience and required qualifications. Second, when deciding how much salary to give to your employees always go with the market rate. Don’t make decisions based on their salary history. And third, make sure that your whole team understands what is fundamental: outcomes achieved and not hours worked.
Equal doesn’t mean the same. Usually, managers make a mistake and try to treat men and women the same. For example, if Mary asks to leave work 2 hours early, then the same perks should Bob have. Maybe this approach works for children. But you can’t go a long way with that management. Your manager has to treat them as separate employees who only get something when they deserve it. So if Mary deserves to leave work 2 hours early and Bob doesn’t, don’t give the opportunity to Bob only because Mary got it. And if you have doubts whether or not your actions are legally right towards your employees, you can always check them with your employment attorney. Remember, asking questions, making sure everything is correct beforehand is going to be cheaper for you, than undergoing an illegal activity and asking your lawyer’s help only then.
If you are facing gender inequality in your workplace, read about how to survive a hostile work environment to make your life just a bit easier. At times it might feel like creating gender equality in the workplace is too complicated and even impossible. But it is not. Take a deep breath. Shake your old management style off and get a new, innovative and most importantly gender-equality-promoting style.