Gender Equality in the Workplace

Attention to pervasive gender inequality in the workforce has recently grown sharper and more urgent—and rightfully so. While most agree that inclusion and support of women in the workforce is a vital cultural correction, we’re also beginning to see that companies reap significant rewards in commercial success as they make moves toward equity. But shortcomings in equal pay, hiring, promotion, and inclusion of women seem immovable.

A Pew Research Center report on gender pay inequality shows that little has changed since the 1980s to narrow the gap between men’s and women’s salaries. In 2018, women earned 85% of what men earned, according to the Pew analysis. Multiple studies by McKinsey & Company reveal just how severely women are underrepresented at every level of the corporate ladder and only 38 percent of companies even set targets for gender representation.

And yet, those same McKinsey studies uncover eye-opening outcomes for companies that prioritize promoting and supporting women (and diverse candidates overall). Evidence from their 2017 study reveals that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams showed 21 percent more profitability than those in the fourth quartile. A 2018 study by leadership consulting firm DDI found that organizations with women holding at least 30 percent of leadership roles are 1.4 times more likely to have sustained, profitable growth.

With reports illuminating the immense challenges for women in the workplace (and considering that half of the world’s population is female, after all), how can business leaders make a real impact? The first step of course is identifying there’s an imbalance and addressing it. OrgChart software’s Gender Ratio functionality displays information about the organization’s gender composition and can be calculated by division, department, location and job type. This provides a clear snapshot of the composition of the workforce and can be used to formulate internal strategies to balance the mix of the workforce.

OrgChart displays gender ratio under each manager of a large company

The work does not stop there however. Bountiful sources, both scholarly and anecdotal, note that simply aiming to hire women into a company’s workforce isn’t enough. A true course correction toward equality can only take place when women are genuinely integrated, supported, and respected as an essential part of operations and culture. When someone is the “token” female in the room (on the team, the board, the project), it can do more harm than good by exacerbating exclusionist behaviors and devaluing a woman’s voice. Not only does this “one and done” approach to gender inclusion fails to promote market success, it perpetuates unhealthy and even dangerous workplace cultures.

There are countless layers of complexity when it comes to why gender imbalance persists, all multi-faceted and deeply ingrained, from coworkers’ unconscious biases to unreasonable parental leave policies. Identifying gender discrepancies using tools such as OrgChart Now is a first step towards building a more healthy, inclusive and profitable business.