Why gender equality in the workplace is better for business

Eden Gillespie

As we progress as a nation, more and more women are breaking through the “glass ceiling” in the business and corporate sectors.

We have more female CEOs and leaders now than ever before, and the benefits for the workplace are becoming clearer.

Having an influx of men or women in a workplace can create division and breed a toxic work culture that's exclusive to the minority sex. So here’s why you should consider edging as close to a 50/50 gender ratio as possible in the workplace (and of course, that includes transgender, LGBT and non-binary individuals).

Having an influx of men or women in a workplace can create division and breed a toxic work culture that is exclusive to the minority sex.

Less exclusivity

I once worked in a heavily male-dominated environment where my ideas, thoughts and opinions were routinely silenced, ignored and shut down.

The ‘bro’ culture of my workplace was toxic to the point that I felt like I was intruding upon the boy’s club that I found myself exiled from. I was excluded from bonding sessions, and was unable to participate in the masculine performance antics of chatting up girls and pulling ‘boyish’ stunts in the office.

Most certainly, wrestling in the office wasn’t something I felt I could join in on – nor did I want to.

On the flip side, I’ve had male friends who’ve felt ousted when working amongst a solely female cohort, unable to discuss the rugged handsomeness of Justin Trudeau or talk bridal party plans.

While, often this dynamic is more reliant on personality than gender, a bias towards men or women in the workplace can leave employees feeling excluded.

Hiring an equal gender ratio will unify an office, as colleagues will be forced to band together to solve problems rather than alienating particular individuals based on gender.

It’s still a ‘man’s world’ when it comes to the pay check and executive positions.

Australia is behind when it comes to gender equality

Australia is still behind when it comes to equal opportunities for women – and this needs to be fixed.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, in 2013 we ranked 24th in the world in terms of gender equality.

The organisation also reported that the average Australian woman will have to work an additional 66 days a year in order to earn the equivalent pay as her male colleague.

Further, they report: “While women comprise roughly 46 per cent of all employees in Australia, they take home on average $283.20 less than men each week”.  And sadly, “a quarter of women were sexually harassed in the workplace between 2007 and 2012”.

Women may be increasingly prevalent in the workplace – testament to the hard-fought battle by many activists – however, it’s still a ‘man’s world’ when it comes to the pay check and executive positions.

This is why you should strive to be a company that leads by example when it comes to empowering women and seeking to provide equal pay and opportunity.

Diversity generates new ideas and concerns

Generally speaking, women and men often prioritise different values and concerns. This allows for the sharing of different perspectives and the ability for your company to thrive in areas of innovation and growth.

Based on our backgrounds, our different experiences provide us varied views and problem-solving methods. This is true in many instances, including gender.

It’s time to consider integrating gender equality targets in your workspace and paying attention to the diversity of your office.

It has economic and brand benefits

If you’re still searching for a financial motive to incorporate an even gender spread, amiss from the idea that it’s the ethical thing to do, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has multiple.

They found that a country’s overall economic performance directly correlates with gender equality. This includes improved productivity rates, organisation and performance, the ability to attract and retain employees and boost an organisation’s reputation.

In other words, you’ll be doing good while also bolstering the name of your brand. It’s a win-win.

It’s time to consider integrating gender equality targets in your workspace and paying attention to the diversity of your office.

Eden Gillespie

Eden Gillespie is a Sydney-based freelancer who writes about politics, travel, media and marketing.

Twitter: @edengillespie | Facebook.com/edengillespiejournalist | Website: medium.com/@edengillespie

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