WOMEN DON’T NEED HELP. THEY NEED TO BE RECOGNIZED AND TREATED FAIRLY FOR THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
BY VIVIAN GIANG
It’s not just bad business today to ignore women in the workplace. It’s risky business.
Women make up 50% of the workforce, have higher education levels than men, are often the primary breadwinners in their families, yet end up underpaid and underrepresented in the workplace. According to UNICEF, women do 66% of the world’s work, but only earn 10% of the world’s income.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), if developed countries raised women employment rates to those of men they could increase their GDP by 12% by 2030. Other studies, such as a recent report from McKinsey & Co., say that having more women in the workplace can lead to higher productivity and efficiency.
“Women don’t need help. Women need recognition and support. They need champions,” says Jane Nelson, lecturer and a director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. “They have similar qualifications, capabilities, education as men. Companies need to have a strategic framework for gender diversity, with goals, targets, sponsors, and support networks, and with clear leadership from the top.”
But changes are difficult to implement as the obstacles that stand in the way of gender balance are often complex and multi-faceted. So complex that most companies aren’t able to come up with the right initiatives to promote change.
To tackle gender challenges in your company, Nelson outlines a three-part mantra for advancing women in the workplace…