The Top 10 Is­sues Women Face At Work

Rotman Management Magazine - - QUESTIONS FOR -

1. FLEX­I­BLE WORK AR­RANGE­MENTS. Once seen as an em­ployee ben­e­fit or an ac­com­mo­da­tion for care­givers (pri­mar­ily women), FWAS are now an ef­fec­tive tool for or­ga­ni­za­tions to at­tract top tal­ent as well as a cost-sav­ings mea­sure to re­duce turnover, pro­duc­tiv­ity and ab­sen­teeism.

What can lead­ers do?

• Switch the fo­cus to pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­sults, and not time

spent at the desk. • Seek out man­agers who cur­rently work flex­i­bly and find

out what works and what doesn’t. • En­cour­age your own team to be a role model and con­sider

uti­liz­ing FWAS.

2. EQUAL PAY. It’s 2017, and women around the world con­tinue to face a wage gap. In fact, women on av­er­age will need to work more than 70 ad­di­tional days each year just to catch up to the earnings of men.

What can lead­ers do?

• En­sure that there are no gaps in your work­place by do­ing

a wage au­dit. • Im­ple­ment a “no ne­go­ti­a­tions” pol­icy. • Sup­port pay trans­parency. • Eval­u­ate re­cruit­ment, pro­mo­tion, and tal­ent de­vel­op­ment

sys­tems for gen­der bias.

3. RACE AND GEN­DER BIAS. Every­one has un­con­scious bi­ases—even the best-in­ten­tioned peo­ple—which play out in their ev­ery­day lives and in­ter­ac­tions in the work­place.

What can lead­ers do?

• Don’t shy away from talk­ing about un­com­fort­able or dif­fi­cult top­ics. Each of us—re­gard­less of our race or gen­der—has a role to play. • Be open to feed­back and learn­ing. • If you see harm­ful be­hav­iour in your work­place, say some

thing. Oth­er­wise, your si­lence makes you com­plicit in it. • Con­front in­equities head on through or­ga­ni­za­tion-wide


4. AC­CESS TO HOT JOBS. Not all lead­er­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties are cre­ated equally, and not all jobs pro­vide the same de­gree of ca­reer ad­vance­ment.

What can lead­ers do?

• Make a de­lib­er­ate in­vest­ment to help women col­leagues. • Model in­clu­sive lead­er­ship be­hav­iours. • Em­power em­ploy­ees to ne­go­ti­ate their roles.

5. ROLE MOD­ELS. You can’t be what you can’t see.

What can lead­ers do?

• Be in­ten­tional about ap­point­ing highly qual­i­fied women to your ex­ec­u­tive team, cor­po­rate board, C-suite, and/or CEO po­si­tion.

6. SPON­SOR­SHIP. Not enough lead­ers are spon­sor­ing highly qual­i­fied women by speak­ing up on their be­half.

What can lead­ers do?

• Rec­og­nize that spon­sor­ship is some­thing any­one can do. • Care­fully and humbly lis­ten to women col­leagues, which

can help them feel more in­cluded. • Take a look at your “go-to” peo­ple at work; is it a di­verse group? Are you look­ing broadly and deeply for tal­ent? Are women in­cluded in the in­for­mal ac­tiv­i­ties and so­cial­iz­ing that is also im­por­tant for ad­vance­ment?

7. SEX­UAL HA­RASS­MENT. Sex­ual ha­rass­ment re­mains a wide­spread prob­lem, with at least one-quar­ter of women hav­ing re­ported some sort of ha­rass­ment on the job.

What can lead­ers do?

• De­velop and im­ple­ment preven­tion strate­gies such as

a highly-vis­i­ble com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign. • En­sure ac­cess to work­place re­port­ing mech­a­nisms. • Train man­agers to re­port any com­plaints or ob­ser­va­tions

of ha­rass­ment. • Thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate all com­plaints and take cor­rec­tive


8. NON-IN­CLU­SIVE WORK­PLACES. When women (or any em­ployee) feel like out­siders in the work­place be­cause of their unique qual­i­ties or dif­fer­ences (e.g., gen­der, race/eth­nic­ity, na­tion­al­ity, age, re­li­gion, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion), they feel ex­cluded.

What can lead­ers do?

• Cre­ate con­ver­sa­tion ground rules and hold your­self and your team ac­count­able for fol­low­ing them. • De­velop a shared un­der­stand­ing and lan­guage about in­clu­sion and ex­clu­sion. • Sign up for a free Cat­a­lystx/edx course, “Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Skills for Bridg­ing Di­vides,” to learn sim­ple skills to build more in­clu­sive work­places,.

9. DOU­BLE-BIND. The stereo­type that ‘men take charge’ and ‘women take care’ puts women lead­ers in var­i­ous dou­ble-binds.

What can lead­ers do?

• Chal­lenge your­self as to whether you are judg­ing peo­ple fairly. Re­verse the gen­der of the per­son in ques­tion and see if it makes a dif­fer­ence in your think­ing. • Ex­pose em­ploy­ees to peers—in­clud­ing men—who are

will­ing to ad­vo­cate for women lead­ers. • Pro­vide di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion train­ing to help em­ploy­ees

un­der­stand the ef­fects of gen­der stereo­typ­ing.

10. LGBTQ+ PRO­TEC­TION. Mis­per­cep­tions and ex­clu­sion­ary be­hav­iour can make LGBTQ women feel like the ‘other’ at work, lead­ing them to choose to stay in the closet by not dis­clos­ing their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

What can lead­ers do?

• Take steps to be a vis­i­ble ally so LGBTQ women and oth­ers

will know they can come to you. • Pro­tect the psy­cho­log­i­cal safety of LGBTQ women at work

(and all em­ploy­ees), which will help them feel more in­cluded. • Learn more about LGBTQ rights to help build a more in­clu­sive

work­place cul­ture and so­ci­ety.

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