Women In The Workplace: Facts, Opinion And Political Correctness
Businesses are certainly doing more to support employee well-being and inclusion, but this critical work is spreading them thin and is mainly unrewarded. Therefore, it is increasingly important for women leaders to work for companies that prioritize this flexibility, employee well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
If companies don’t act, they risk losing their current women leaders and the next generation of women leaders.
STEM Careers need more women. Although women are a minority in the STEM sector workforce, the percentage of women STEM employees has increased from 21% in 2016 to 24% in 2019. The gender split differs for specific disciplines: engineering professionals rank lowest, with 10% women engineers in 2019, and science professionals much higher, with 46% women.
UK STEM workforce, using Office for National Statistics Labour Force data.
Not only is the pipeline to employment broken, but so is education and promotion of it.
In this current climate young women are even more ambitious than before; placing higher value on working in a supportive, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Observing many senior women leaving for better opportunities, and they’re prepared to do the same!
Women are more likely to experience microaggressions that belittle them; for example having their judgment questioned; or perhaps being mistaken for someone more junior.
According to Mckinsey: “Being way more likely than male leaders to have their colleagues imply that they aren’t qualified to do their jobs. Women leaders are twice as likely as men to be mistaken for someone more junior.”
Women leaders being far more likely than men to report that personal characteristics, such as gender or them being a parent have played a role in them being denied career progression or passed by for a raise, promotion, or chance to get ahead.
In these modern times, young working women care deeply about having an opportunity to advance—with more than two-thirds of women under 30 wanting to be senior leaders.
The option to work remotely is really important to women. With one in ten women wanting to work mostly on-site, and many women pointing to remote- and hybrid-work as one of their top reasons for joining or staying with an organization.
The decrease in microaggressions with working from home is especially pronounced for color women, LGBTQ+ women, and disabled women—groups typically face more demeaning and bad behaviour when at the office (“Remote-work options are especially critical for women with disabilities”).
There is a need for managers to regularly encourage respectful behaviour.
Managers need more training and support and their results need tracking to ensure promotions are equitable and treatment is fair.
Companies must track staff attrition rates, promotion rates, and other career outcomes. They must also conduct surveys measuring employee satisfaction & well-being. Insights can be built into managers’ performance reviews.
Sharing these well-being and diversity metrics is crucial visibly acknowledging managers who stand out for supporting employees and fostering inclusion on their teams is now becoming table stakes for the more progressive.
Focus for companies to progress toward gender equality must be:
Getting more women into leadership
Retaining the women leaders they already have
Flexibility, emergency childcare benefits, and mental-health support help to ensure that this remains a focus.
To become more successful here with equality business must work out where they are going wrong.
This beginning with identifying the largest gap in promotions are for women in their pipeline. Companies then need to make sure women and men are put forward for promotions at similar rates, monitoring outcomes to make sure they’re equitable, and rooting out biased aspects of internal/external evaluation processes.