Despite #MeToo, women feel nothing has changed
- A new report from Fairygodboss found that most of the women (57%) in its career community said they believe the workplace has remained the same for women in 2018, despite the #MeToo movement. The report, Creating Gender Equality at Work: A Roadmap for 2019, cited The World Economic Forum's prediction that, at the current pace, closing the economic gap between women and men will take 217 years.
- The report also found that, in 2018, women are generally satisfied with their workplace — a majority of 34% gave it a four-point rating on a scale of one to five. Women's job satisfaction correlates with whether they think there's gender equality at work: Among women who gave their workplaces a score of five, only 7% said their workplaces have featured gender inequality.
- Fairygodboss said employers can help remove barriers against working women by: investing in employee resource groups; advocating for women by celebrating their achievements and providing women with sponsors, mentors and allies; evaluating hiring and promoting practicing to ensure fairness; showcasing their workplace culture by making employees brand ambassadors; and advertising and executing diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Recent research has uncovered both the successes of women in the workplace and the barriers to their advancement in the workplace. While one study indicated that women complete more work than men, others showed that, globally, women are routinely passed over for promotions and are less likely than men to ask for a pay raise or receive a salary increase after asking for one. A new Bentley University research study found that women are disappearing from talent pipelines, and another new case study showed that men were more likely to quit their jobs when working under women. And in yet another report, it was revealed that women who find themselves alone on teams of men are more likely to leave their companies. The list of barriers to women's development is overwhelming.
One way HR leaders can help remove barriers to gender equity is by reviewing and auditing their organizations' pay practices and flagging disparities that may signal discrimination. To encourage more women to remain onboard and in the workplace, companies can hire more female executives, expand their family paid leave policies, and provide sponsors or mentors for women to support their advancement.
Sexual misconduct is still a problem in many workplaces, despite the #MeToo movement's goal of encouraging women and victims to speak out about abusive behavior. Sexual harassment and discrimination are critical barriers to women's sense of belonging in the workplace; therefore, employers must respond promptly to complaints, enforce zero-tolerance policies and provide an anonymous procedure for victims and witnesses to report incidences of misconduct, experts have said. In the case of repetitive complaints, a cultural overhaul might be necessary. Employers must be prepared to make whatever changes will make the work environment safe and positive for all employees.