Gender Equality – Are We Really Making Enough Progress?
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
“There aren't that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board - the issues covered are extremely complex"
"Most women don't want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board"
"My other board colleagues wouldn't want to appoint a woman on our board"
"All the 'good' women have already been snapped up"
"We have one woman already on the board, so we are done - it is someone else's turn"
You would be forgiven for thinking that these are quotations from the annals of history when in fact they were made this year. Even more staggering is that they were neither ‘off the cuff’ nor ‘off the record’. These very words were said by certain chairs and chief executives of FTSE 350 companies to the team compiling the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review. These comments show starkly that there is still a huge problem with attitudes towards women in the workplace, particularly when there are still organisations with executives like these and whose attitudes pervade from the top.
So what is Gender Equality?
Generally speaking, you will find that men make up the majority of senior positions within an organisation. Take a look around your current organisation, how many women are in management positions, compared to men? Perceptions weighed down by the inertia of historical norms have been that women do the administration or lower level jobs, while men take care of the more senior and complex roles. In too many cases, men are being paid more than women – to do exactly the same job. This is what is known as gender inequality. Gender equality is giving both sexes the same opportunities and same salary, without discrimination.
Gender Pay Results
A survey by the Young Women’s Trust revealed UK women are missing out on an accumulation of £138 billion every year. The results of the survey also showed that 3 in 10 young women have faced discrimination at work and only 9% of young people felt there wasn’t any sex discrimination in the workplace. Worrying? The young people surveyed felt that there were various ways of improving gender equality, including, judging women on their abilities, employers treating men and women equally and a more equal portrayal of women and men in the media. These basics aren’t just felt to be possible ways forward – they’re absolutely known to be.
The results of the gender pay gap report have revealed that there is a huge way to go before true gender equality is achieved. The report revealed that nearly 8 out of 10 companies and public sector bodies are paying men more than women. The report also revealed that women were being paid an hourly rate which is roughly 9% less than men. Gender inequality is very much in existence and there is still a long way to go before men and women are seen as equals in the workplace. An astounding 89% of women are working for a company with gender inequality issues.
Gender Equality Targets
In order to close the gender inequality gaps, the government backed Hampton-Alexander Review Set has a target in place to have 33% of women on boards in FTSE 350 businesses by 2020. In spite of the ongoing existence of the kind of out of date misogynist views such as the extremes uncovered by the review there is a trend of improvement and it’s possible that these targets can be achieved. There is, however, a long way to go in terms of achieving gender equality, but with the introduction of Gender Pay Gap reporting together with targets, large organisations have nowhere to hide. They must be able to answer questions about gender inequality and this could pave the way to help ensure women are being paid equally and being promoted into senior positions.
If you want to find out more about the Gender Pay Gap for individual companies, you can search here.
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