With the #MeToo movement blowing up world-wide, many corporations are thinking about how to promote gender equality at work. How do you go about changing paradigms that have been set in place for hundreds of years? Change has been slow, but things are getting better.
From where I stand, I see so much movement for women. I just facilitated an Entrepreneur Training at the Small Business Development Center in Long Beach (SBDC) and half the attendees were women. I recently spoke at the Duarte Chamber of Commerce women’s event and also at a World Financial event. All of the attendees were women with the exception of a handful of men. I’ve also been invited to keynote a Tech Talk for women venture funding.
And to top it all, I am going to be interviewed in the co-op opportunity of the U.S. State Department and the Indian Government on a Global Entrepreneur Summit that will be featured in the local media during the summit. And guess what? Yep, the focus is on women.
What is workplace gender equality?
This is a question that pops up quite often. ‘What is workplace gender equality?’ I get asked. The answer is pretty simple. “People must be able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender.”
Why is gender equality important?
The movement of women speaking up and speaking out is only getting louder. Your organization is losing opportunities if you are not actively engaging in the most important conversation we are having right now.
If you’re still questioning why is gender equality important, think about this – you’re missing out on half the talent in your workforce. No one does their best work when they are feeling belittled, demeaned, and harassed. The modern workplace should support everyone to bring out his or her best performance.
What are the obstacles to gender equality at work?
In order to fully appreciate the obstacles to gender equality at work you need to think deeply about the problem. Women are increasingly well-educated and well-trained. However, often women’s career paths stall because they are still expected to do most of the work when it comes to child and elder care. If a woman takes a few months off to handle these responsibilities her career may never recover.
What are the objectives of gender equality?
Men and women need to share the burden of child and elder care equally. Women in top positions should take the lead in initiatives such as equal parental leave, flexible time, and better childcare choices. It’s not just a matter of questioning the objectives of gender equality, it’s looking around for hidden expectations that are often placed on women.
How to promote gender equality in the workplace
I’ve covered it extensively in my blog and I see a lot of struggle and time wasted with figuring out what you can do right now. So, I’ve created a checklist that will teach you how to promote gender equality in the workplace. Use these points to make an impact at your workplace:
Showcase at least one women’s initiative
It’s okay if you only focus on one, but you must put money behind it and make sure it gets noticed. If you are not willing to put dollars behind it, don’t waste your time.
Intention alone isn’t enough—it has to be tangible
The success of equality is viewed differently by men and women. An eye-opening study by McKinsey and LeanIn.org (see the portion: Men think women are doing better than they really are) shows that the majority of men believe one woman in a boardroom of ten is excellent progress! You must have the conversation with both genders and establish your baseline for comparison. Otherwise, there is no measure of success.
Don’t make any excuses
It will only get you bad press. Rather, take a bold step and declare you are now committed to making changes and are putting money behind it. And then follow through with those changes. Show that you’re serious in learning how to promote gender equality in the workplace.
Point out small discriminations that women notice
Simple things like “let her finish” or “I want to hear what the women have to say” go a long way. When you see something that is not equal, please say something right away. Do not hide behind the men’s code (i.e. mostly silence).
How can I help?
Step up as an advocate for women leadership
Please consider me your ally. If you need any numbers or help to pitch something, or someone to be on the advisory committee, or just about any other thing I can do to help, all you need to do is shoot me an email. I have every imaginable study about this topic at my fingertips. I can help you. Really, I mean this.
The time is now. We don’t have any more time to waste. Let’s Grow.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.