International Women’s Day, March 8, is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
What does gender parity mean?
New America defines it this way: “Gender parity is a statistical measure that compares a particular indicator among women, like average income, to the same indicator among men.”
While women have made strides in reaching gender parity in some areas, such as education, numbers lag in others like pay or leadership representation. Here are some ways companies can promote gender parity within their own organizations.
Approach hiring “blind.” In other words, remove names and other indicators which would reveal gender, race, age or other characteristics that people may unconsciously discriminate against.
Increase transparency about the gender pay gap and work to reduce it
80 cents for every dollar is a commonly used figure for the discrepancy in pay between women and men. There are different ways to reduce the pay gap, including publicly sharing salaries for roles or levels and not using past salaries to influence job offers to new employees.
Support the next generation of women leaders
Some recent developments include men declining invitations to panels or conferences if women are underrepresented, and, of course, actively seeking out women to mentor and promote within a company.
Have a clear sexual harassment policy and enforce it
The Center for American Progress’ research reveals that “sexual harassment was significantly under-reported … Second, sexual harassment—as is the case with other forms of harassment—is often about power and taking advantage of a power imbalance.”
If companies have a known sexual harassment policy and enforce it, it reinforces a culture in which everyone knows such behavior will not be tolerated and employees feel safer coming forward.
Why it matters
Women represent less than 50% of leaders in every industry analyzed. When more women leaders are hired, they tend to hire more women and pay them more.