Why Employers Should Lead the Way in Women’s Rights

The professional progression of women based on their outstanding performances can be linked to lower turnover rates and higher inclusivity of gender diversity.

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Why Employers Should Lead the Way in Women’s Rights

Here's what you need to know about why employers should lead the way in women’s rights:

  • Barriers continue to be broken in the workplace.
  • Create an open space for conversation about earnest advancement opportunities and encourage women to pursue them.
  • Empowering women at work creates better performance, employee retention, and financial outlook overall. 

American women have climbed ladders in leaps and bounds compared to their historical counterparts. In the early Americas, married women could not legally own property, vote, or sign binding contracts. The women who did work did so inside their homes were young and unmarried, often without pay.

At home, they were housewives doing the cooking, cleaning, raising children, and other domestic chores. Some women who labored outside of the home were:

  • Midwives
  • Teachers
  • Barbers
  • Seamstresses
  • Maids

Even then, by law, any wages married women earned went to their husbands, and single women were paid substantially less.

Changes began making headway at the turn of the 20th century

It wasn’t until the early 1900s, after unsuccessful strikes and letters to editors of major magazines, that meaningful changes were made. In 1911, teachers in New York were granted equal pay compared to men. Over a hundred years later, in 2020, women were still paid 13 cents on the dollar less than men.

Wage discrimination and other forms of scorned women’s rights have created a force to be reckoned with in the community of women. Over time, women have become more educated, determined, and harder working to prove themselves against an oppressive working culture.

These barriers continue to be broken in the workplace. Employers will do well to pay attention to these jumped hurdles and uplift women in their businesses.

High-performance evaluations

A study spanning the last 7 years has made some interesting discoveries about discrimination against women in leadership roles. On a broad scale, women are promoted into managerial positions much less than men. Even when they scored higher in performance evaluations, they were still incorrectly judged as having poor leadership skills compared to their male counterparts.

“Companies with consistent, inclusive workplace cultures—especially as experienced by historically underrepresented groups—also outperformed the S&P 500 in average annual stock returns.”

These skills are usually defined as being assertive, charismatic, and ambitious, which many companies stereotypically associate more with men. As it turns out, another study showed that “companies with consistent, inclusive workplace cultures—especially as experienced by historically underrepresented groups—also outperformed the S&P 500 in average annual stock returns during the Great Recession (measured from 2006-2014).”  These are more women-driven companies that accomplished 42% more sales and 66% more invested capital.

Women make significant differences

This isn’t surprising when today’s educational numbers are factored in. Women have earned 9.7 million more degrees in higher education than men since 1982. By the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, about 60% of the college students were women.

The professional progression of women based on their outstanding performances can be linked to lower turnover rates and higher inclusivity of gender diversity. Other career-driven women are more inclined to join a team when they notice women can climb corporate ladders.

The professional progression of women based on their outstanding performances can be linked to lower turnover rates and higher inclusivity of gender diversity.

A company can begin integrating a more woman-friendly environment by hearing their women’s ideas without taking them for granted. Let them take credit for their contributions. Invite everyone to public speaking opportunities led by empowered women, which allow the entire group of employees to engage with upper management.

Recognize the value of a woman’s achievements. Create an open space for conversation about earnest advancement opportunities and encourage women to pursue them. This not only shows concern for the women in the industry but for all working individuals for career advancement.

Sexual harassment

While sexual assault is not limited to one particular gender, women experience sexual harassment 4 times more than men. They are also 13% more likely to be physically assaulted at work. This type of unwanted and unreciprocated behavior is vastly unprofessional and inappropriate, to say the least.

In a massive majority of scenarios, men are usually the violators. In this case, it can be assumed that a portion of the men being promoted and praised over women likely have or will sexually harass their co-workers.

Silence to avoid retribution

75% of instances of sexual harassment are never reported. In the case of women, many are afraid of losing their jobs due to the camaraderie between male employees and HR or upper management. In other cases, they don’t believe it will truly be addressed.

All claims of workplace harassment can blanket a company in a dark veil of a lack of safety, security, and decorum. The claims found to have a shred of truth result in ugly lawsuits and thousands of dollars spent on firing the culprit and hopefully providing counseling for the victim.

It’s obvious a company needs to have anti-harassment policies as a safety net for their employees. It’s more important for an employer to implement avenues of anonymous reporting to alleviate the fear and embarrassment of the victims. Perhaps more increasingly important is to provide access to counseling for victims and mandatory annual or semi-annual training to build community and remind everyone of the repercussions and examples of sexual harassment.

Check unintentional biases

4 in 10 US women in 2017 experienced gender discrimination in the workplace. These women were more likely to assume they were seen as incapable, unimportant, and easy to overlook. This leaves women feeling either unconfident in their work or as though they must overcompensate to be perceived as adequate as a man.

Since women are already two times as likely to suffer from depression than men, it doesn’t come as a shock that this carries over to their careers. Just like their historical counterparts, women are more likely to perform the brunt of housework. Being the housewife, perfect mother, and employee of the month can do a number on women’s mental health. This is especially the case if they’re not feeling appreciated where they tend to work the hardest.

Improve employee morale

Low morale is a problematic emotion for employees and employers alike. Individuals can point out an insecure person from a mile away, and a negative expectation is almost always the forethought. Workers without confidence earn $7,000-$28,000 less than those with high self-esteem. If this lack of workplace uplifting continues through retirement, that could exceed a million dollars in lost wages in extreme cases.

Low morale is a problematic emotion for employees and employers alike.

The existence of depression or anxiety directly impacts work performance. This leaves an employee feeling:

  • Unengaged
  • Unfocused
  • Antisocial
  • Sometimes totally absent

An employee’s lack of an achieving and determined attitude will cause the entire company to experience downfalls. A depressed person with low confidence is not likely to contribute to a team or feel as though their ideas are worth listening to.

Caring about mental health in the workplace is the right thing to do, and it is business savvy. The success of a company relies on the mental health of its employees. Happy and vested women and employees are more productive, loyal, and make better contributions to the company.

The success of a company relies on the mental health of its employees.

Employers can help the mental health of their staff by providing resources such as access to:

  • Financial
  • Legal
  • Childcare
  • Life counseling

Many workplaces have implemented an annual or semi-annual “field day” event that gets their employees outside to enjoy the fresh air and activities that improve mental health. Some office spaces have incorporated an onsite relaxation room where employees can take a few moments to decompress during a moment of burnout.

The bottom line

Gender inclusion in the workforce enhances collaboration and teamwork. When employers embrace women’s rights, they demolish the toxic work environment and diminished work ethic.

Women develop the confidence to fully control their professional future when they are empowered at work. In turn, this creates better performance, employee retention, and financial outlook overall.

 

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