In 10 years, the next generation workforce will be 85% minorities (1). This includes people of non male gender, people of non white race, people of different sexual orientations, different abilities, and religions.
If your company does not yet see the importance of equality, they are missing out on the next generation of talent. When it comes to gender equality, specifically a bias against women, you are cutting out half of the talent pool by not being inclusive.
But how do we get stakeholder buy-in to gender equality? To make a long term change we need strategy, accountability, and tangible goals. We also need male advocates to make it work.
Jeffrey Tobias, Gender Strategist at YWomen recommends one simple step to start the question of ‘is my company sexist?’ He recommends encouraging a leader in your company to ask a female staff member one simple question, ‘are you having a different experience in the workplace than I am?’ Do not expect genuine insights the first time it is asked, so ask again, ‘is there something I don’t understand?’ And listen, don’t interrupt. Wait for her to share. Then ask a third time. Those last few minutes will be the most enlightening. Tobias finds that these conversations are what triggers understanding and curiosity in leaders. These types of inquisitive discussions highlight the ways people are treated differently, and the knock on effect of gender bias behaviours in the workplace. (1)
Once leaders start to see the everyday differences, it helps to provide incentives that reflect the wider scale impact of sexism in the workplace. For instance, gender equality avoids lawsuits, it is better for the bottom line. Companies with diverse teams have been found to perform better (2). And of course it provides a fairer workplace for the next generation.
If you try the ‘is my company sexist?’ questions, let me know how it goes, I’d be interested to hear. And as always, if you need any help with the recruitment of people of all genders or with your international payroll, get in touch.