47.7% That’s the percentage of participation of women in the labour force globally. The world is becoming less judgemental when it comes to women going out to make a living, at least that’s what many of us would like to think.
Would it be believable if we tell you that 30 years ago, more than 50.9% of women were an active part of the labour force globally? It means that all the hullabaloo about women empowerment that we have been witness to in the past decade were merely for optics. Instead of an increase in the number of women in the workforce, we are staring at a decline. More needs to be done.
The Black Swan event that is Covid-19 has impacted women even more negatively than one would like to imagine. According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2020 report, an annual exercise that helps track the progress of women in the corporate sector, one in four women are thinking of either downshifting their career or quitting their jobs. It is an unprecedented emergency which will also rob workplaces of its future women leaders. The years of progress made in getting women to workplaces and shattering the glass ceiling will need to be started again from scratch.
For every 100 men promoted to the manager position, only 85 women were promoted, according to the report. Gender diversity is important not only because it is woke to be so, but also because it helps the bottom line. According to a study by Gallup, an analytics and advisory company that conducts opinion polls, gender-diverse business units have better financial results than those that are dominated by one gender.
A report titled ‘Diversity Wins: Inclusion Matters’ clearly says that when women are in the leadership position, company profits and share performance are 50 percent higher. The report also states that senior-level women are more likely to introduce employee-friendly policies and programs than men, thus improving the morale of the office.
Here are four more reasons why you should encourage gender diversity in the workplace:
#1 Better reputation:
Having an inclusive workforce is a great recruiting tool. Women are more likely to be a part of offices where they see more women. If you do not want to lose out on good female talent, then take proactive steps to be gender-inclusive. Millennials are more likely to find equal workplaces attractive and there are high chances that they will prefer it over a male-dominated one.
Businesses should evaluate candidates based on their skills without letting subconscious biases take precedence. Write job descriptions that do not have masculine connotations, like aggressive, competitive, driven or rock star, so that it doesn’t deter women from applying.
#2 Different perspectives:
When you have people from different backgrounds working for you, the number of perspectives you will get are limitless. It broadens your vision and there is more acuity amongst the team members because everyone is challenging each other, although with warmth and respect.
#3 More profits:
There are many research studies over the years which have confirmed that more women in the workforce means more profits. An MSCI report says that having women on the corporate board reflected in its financial performance. Based on the report, if there were at least three women on the board, the company experienced a ROE of 10 percentage points and EPS (Earning Per Share) of 37%.
The Women Count 2020 report by The Pipeline says that there is “stark difference in net profit margins of companies that have diverse gender leaderships compared to those who do not.” Being gender-inclusive makes great economic sense too, if we were to go by the plenty of research studies that are made on this topic.
Another report by McKinsey says that companies which have gender diversity are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability. Most businesses care deeply about its bottom line and for them, this is reason enough to push for more women on its rolls.
#4 Improved collaboration:
Research says that groups which have more women in it are likely to have better conversations, engage fairly with each other and share knowledge. For projects that require team effort, having women in each team results in better and improved collaboration.
A workplace that has a strong balance of men and women workers is not just good for the latter, but also a great workplace for men as well. In a workplace that has both the genders in equal numbers, you will find that there is more respect between the team members, different perspectives, reduction in employee turnover, more innovation, and so on.
To create a gender-inclusive workplace, companies should foster a culture which embraces gender diversity. To mould such a culture, the leadership should strongly believe in it, only then it will trickle down to all the employees.