While we all know that the gender pay gap is an issue that demands attention, I'm often amazed at how few businesses are taking practical steps to close it. In fact, since the pandemic, progress has actually reversed: while we were 202 years from gender parity in 2018, that number increased to 268 years in 2021.
When researching my book, Don’t Fix Women: The practical path to gender equality at work, I found overwhelming evidence that the solution to gender equality is not fixing women, but rather doing the necessary work to improve an outdated system that wasn’t designed for women to thrive.
The most significant issue for companies is the leaky pipeline and retaining women, supporting their progression into senior roles … Yet, there are practical steps that companies can take to enable change to happen.Joy Burnford, founder and CEO of Encompass Equality
We know the most significant issue for companies, when it comes to gender equality, is the leaky pipeline and retaining women, supporting their progression into senior roles (one in three women considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their career in 2022). And no wonder – the obstacles women face in their careers are plentiful: fewer opportunities, lower pay, caring responsibilities and hormonal challenges, to name merely a few. These challenges tend to build up for women as they progress in their careers, which is one reason why they can fall off the corporate ladder before having the chance to reach senior positions.
Yet, there are practical steps that companies can take to enable change to happen. We know gender balance in the workplace makes good business sense (FTSE 350 companies with more than 25% women their Executive Committees have profit margins almost three times higher than those with all male), yet shifting the dial must start from the top.
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