Equitable practices are good for the bottom line. If you’re not implementing them yet, now’s the time to start.
5 min read
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Gender equality in the workforce is critical to the opportunity, growth and success of all companies. Companies that use equitable hiring and pay practices are more likely to see increased sales and productivity in their workforces, which translates to more monetary success for a company as a whole. In 2021, of businesses that employ gender equality practices, 73 percent reported increased profitability and productivity. While equitable practices are inherently good for women, it’s clear they’re also good for businesses — for the bottom line as well as the office culture.
What is gender equality?
Gender equality in the workplace refers to equal access to resources for male and female employees. Gender equality practices often include hiring quotas for women, equal opportunities for women in leadership and equal pay. In addition, gender equality in the workplace refers to equal access to promotion opportunities, equal decision-making power between men and women and the removal of barriers for women to participate. While gender equality in the workforce doesn’t guarantee identical results, its primary focus is to provide equal opportunity for both men and women. Eliminating hiring discrimination based on family or childcare responsibilities is also often included in gender-equality practices.
How gender equality improves business
Having more women within a company, on teams and in positions of power or leadership has drastic impacts on a company’s overall practices. Gender equality matters because it’s proven to create a dynamic workplace with a broader collection of backgrounds, viewpoints and life experiences, resulting in a more well-rounded decision-making process. Creating equal opportunities for men and women to collaborate on decisions also leads to diminished risk-taking, less aggressive strategies and improved workplace satisfaction and employee turnover rates.
Women are a positive investment in the workplace. According to the Global Gender Gap report, women are increasingly more highly educated in comparison to men. A company’s competitive advantage on a global scale is deeply impacted by a company’s ability to attract and retain the best talent, which means highly educated women are valuable players for a company’s overall worth. Top-tier employees are also more likely to stay in diverse and equitable organizations, which helps to eliminate employee turnover.
For leadership teams, women are an essential part of the equation. Executive teams are 21 percent more likely to have above-average profitability if the team is gender diverse. The presence of women in top managing positions can drastically raise the value of a company or firm worldwide. Research and studies across the board prove that women are positive for a company’s bottom line.
Illustrating the difference
Picture two companies in 2021. Company A is a male-dominated company with only a few women, none of whom work in management or upper-level leadership. This company has a high rate of employee turnover and cannot draw in top talent because many of its current staff only have BAs or some college. Because this company lacks gender diversity, its leadership team takes many high-level risks and engages in aggressive business tactics. The company is doing okay financially, but has not seen any significant growth in the past few years.
Company B emphasizes gender equality in the workplace. Its hiring practices emphasize seeking out capable female applicants. Because of this, many women work at the company, and several are part of leadership and management teams. The women who work at this company have high-level degrees, and some have Master’s degrees. There are higher staff-retention rates overall. Because the leadership team is gender diverse, the company takes less risks and is valued much more highly than company A. Company B also has more sales and a higher profitability rate than company A. Company B attracts highly skilled employees and is among many gender-diverse workplaces that experience higher rates of productivity.
The only difference between these two companies’ practices is that Company B believes that gender equality at work is essential to a thriving business. The women in Company B create a diverse work environment that produces successful deals via a well-rounded decision-making process.
Women in leadership help balance decisions, and the company has higher sales. In 2021, as we emerge from Covid-19, companies cannot afford to miss out on the success that company B has seen. Companies must create hiring practices that create opportunities for qualified female candidates to participate in their workplace. Gender equality results in increased sales, engagement and opportunity for success in a highly diverse workforce.
Consider the practices you have in place to promote gender equality within your own business, and if they’re not as sound as they could be, now’s the time to implement change and set yourself up for future gains.