Gender ineqality in the workplace

One in three employees would challenge gender inequality in the workplace

With International Women’s day coming up on 8 March, Sandra Henke, Hays Group Head of People and Culture, gives employers a few tips to encourage employees to challenge gender inequality.

Internationa Women's Day - Hays.be

In 2021, the theme of International Women's Day is #ChoosetoChallenge. Hays embraces this theme and is committed to combating inequality in the workplace and especially on empowering employees to (dare to) address abuses.

Sandra Henke shares three tips for employers:

•    Reassure employees
•    Educate
•    Create a safe environment


1 in 10 employees does not report inequality in the workplace

These tips are necessary, because although 91 percent of the Belgians would challenge gender inequality within the workplace if they were to witness it, 9 percent said they would not challenge gender inequality for various reasons.
 
Some think nothing will be done anyway (4%), others don't see it as their responsibility (3%) and some are afraid of not being able to remain anonymous (2%). For employers the clear task of informing their employees about the ways to address inequality.
 

International women's day: 3 tips to address inequality

1. Reassure employees

“The results of our survey have highlighted the fact that some employees don’t feel as though reporting an issue would be acted upon.

By reassuring employees that their views do matter and that by sharing them and reporting any issues, they can bring about positive change.”
 

2. Educate

“A small number of employees have said that they would not report any inequality because it is not their responsibility to do so. This shows there is an opportunity for organisations to educate their workers as to why it is everybody’s responsibility, not just those perceived to be impacted by inequality.”
 

3. Create a safe environment

“And finally, our survey also found that some workers were reluctant to report any issues because they thought it wasn’t possible to do so anonymously.

Creating channels and processes that allow employees to raise these issues confidentially will build a culture in which people feel safe to share their thoughts and feelings is extremely important.”

The same study shows that both 15 percent of men and women take action themselves. Nevertheless, almost half of the employees (47%) choose to approach and inform management or HR instead. Just as many of these are women as men.
 

Contact with the manager

The annual survey What Workers Want, conducted by Hays,  shows that the relationship between employee and manager has become more distant, for more than a third (35%). At least 32 percent indicate that they have contact with their manager less than once a week,  26 percent still have daily contact with their manager, followed by once every few days (26%) and once a week (16%).

Robby Vanuxem, Managing Director Hays Belgium: “International Women's Day, which takes place March 8, is the perfect opportunity to address gender inequality in the workplace. It is pleasing to see that the vast majority of respondents would challenge gender inequality within the workplace. Everybody has an important part to play in challenging inequality. However, at the same time it is concerning that just over one in ten people would choose not to challenge it.”

That is why contact with managers is so very important. This provides a connection between employee and employer. Regular contact also helps to raise issues or inequality in the workplace in a timely manner.”

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