With the focus on gender equality across all parts of society – business, leadership, politics, relationship and even in the movies (leading to the rise of the #MeToo movement), there is a call for Organisations across the globe to meaningfully address gender inequality in the workplace, to consider how to help create empowered women at all levels and to ensure women have equal representation across all facets of business and society.
Gender equality occurs when both men and women enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors in society – the chance to make an equal living, the opportunity to make decisions, being equally considered for inclusion in all fields and being given the same rights as each other.
When we look at how gender equality is measured, there is a range of equal representation of men and women in a range of roles. Conversely this not happen in areas of gender inequality, which undermines economic growth, human development and hinders poverty reduction.
What benefits does gender equality give to the economy?
By empowering women to be confident and able to stand their ground and contribute fairly, peace, security and the development and stability of nations is enhanced.
Violence against women continues to undermine women as the stable foundation of families and society, affecting their ability to earn to feed their families, contribute to society, and lead in a multitude of meaningful ways.
Measuring gender equality
The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) measures gender equality in the EU across 6 key domains:
- Power and health
- Violence and other gender inequalities
The United Nations Inequality Index is based on the premise that ‘all women and girls are discriminated against in health, education and their labour market, with negative repercussions for their freedom.’
Gender inequality in Australia
Widespread discrimination against women is being recognised as a major worldwide concern, and it’s no different in Australia. Although there has been attempts by some Organisations to address this problem, by developing women into leadership roles, we still have a long way to go. Just look at the facts:
- Less than a third of Australian working women feel they are being treated equally, and one in 10 believe they have experienced sexual harassment
- Researchers at the University of Sydney surveyed more than 2,000 women and 500 men across Australia aged between 16 and 40 for the Women and the Future of Work study into women’s attitudes and experiences in the workplace. The study found just 31 per cent of women surveyed believed men and women were treated equally at work, while 50 percent of men felt there was equality in the workplace.
Gender inequality in Australian politics
In 1902, women were permitted to vote and stand for election for the Australian Parliament. Well, that’s over 110 years ago, and since then, not a great deal has been done in term of gender equality, with women making up less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers in Australia in 2015.
What Organisations and leaders in Australia can do to address gender inequality
The United Nations, optimistically, has 2030 as the expiry of gender inequality. It is no more than a dream, and other research indicates gender equality may be achieved in 80 years.
Organisations have a strong responsibility, as do leaders, to ensure there are more equal representations of both men and women in their ranks at all levels and should be putting in place aggressive strategies to achieve these bold goals.
Ways to developing the capability of women to lead and contribute in Organisations
- Ensure women grow in confidence and can stand their ground in any situation
- Ensure women have access to the same opportunity for economic stability as men do
- Make sure there are firm policies in place and consequences against any form of violence or harassment or bullying towards anybody in the workplace, and due procedure is followed if it occurs
- Promote women on merit
- Seek to develop and promote women to Boards, to ensure equal opportunities and a more balanced contribution from both genders
- Run empowerment Programs f for their women at work across all levels – and not just for leaders
Gender inequality is Australia is alive and well, and whilst some attempts are being made by Organisations and leaders to turn the tide, the groundswell is huge. By the same token women need to learn to stand their ground, stand up for what they want and take charge of their situation.
By learning confidence, being assertive and being able to back themselves, they can be taken seriously, achieve many great things and treated equally, as indeed we should.
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