Equality has barely moved in decades. In the 25 years since we’ve recognized Equal Pay Day, the wage gap has only narrowed by $0.08. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of women in C-suite executive roles increased from 17 percent to 21 percent. These numbers reflect the reality that women face today, especially diverse women — a reality that corporate America is still failing to live up to its pledges of support and promises to “do better.”
Last year, the ongoing global health crisis swiftly regressed what little “progress” we’d made to close the gender gap in the workplace. Recent reporting shows that 2.3 million women in the U.S. had completely dropped out of the labor force by the end of 2020.
We can’t move at the same glacial pace we have in the past. We’ve seen that when left to their own devices, most companies barely move the needle. At Women of MENA In Technology, our mission is to empower Middle Eastern and North African women and girls worldwide to pursue the fields of STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship despite conventional beliefs, societal pressures, or inequality challenges. In our six years, we’ve witnessed how companies lack the internal structures to define, establish and evaluate diversity and inclusion.
Companies need to take bold and intentional action now; anything less perpetuates an ecosystem that fails women. If your company has not implemented these six important actions, you hold back progress for a diverse and equal workplace.
1. Audit and re-adjust salary and benefits
The first and belated step is to pay employees equally, regardless of gender or race. The fact that pay gaps continue to persist is a tragedy in today’s society. On average, women earn $0.82 to a man’s dollar. Still, the disparity is even greater when we look at the gender wage gap across races, with Asian women earning $0.85 to the dollar, Black women earning $0.63, and Latinas earning $0.55 to the dollar.
The pay gap will not close on its own; we must actively evaluate and recalibrate wages regularly. Several large corporations have already done this. In 2015, Salesforce committed to offering equal pay, and every year, the company continues to conduct internal pay audits and bring wages to parity. Adobe and Twitter, Mattel, and other companies joined the EqualPayCA pledge this year, with Adobe boasting pay parity since 2018.
Reaching equity at work will take more than salary adjustments. Benefits packages and policies need to be readjusted to combat deeply entrenched biases that hold women back. One slight positive from the pandemic was that many people had to start working from home. Virtual calls started featuring the messiness and complicated aspects of our domestic lives, including parenting.
Workplaces should embrace the flexibility and patience we all have this past year and offer benefits like flexible work schedules and more robust medical and parental leaves. Benefits related to parenting need to be offered to women and men equally. Otherwise, we perpetuate the false dichotomy that women are the caregivers and men are the breadwinners. Workplaces do not have to make their employees pick between being a head of household or being a professional: They can help employees succeed in both roles.
2. Revisit your hiring strategy
Expand the way you think about the talent you need. One way is to invest in programs and organizations that are going to bring diversity into the ecosystem. Several professional networking organizations intentionally and systematically cultivate talent and leadership in minority groups that are predominately overlooked in the traditional workspace. Look for those community-led organizations and institutions and invest in them to help nurture talent.
Another option is to partner with universities and organizations that provide technical training programs to diverse communities and open the door for people who have alternate career paths. In the past few years, Apple, Google, and Facebook have made efforts to increase the talent pool by reaching traditionally underrepresented people through residency or training programs. Efforts like these will uproot disadvantages early on.
Internally, though, recruiters need the training to overcome ingrained biases to write inclusive job descriptions that welcome, not tokenize, diverse talent. Diversity hiring belittles the skills and expertise of those employees and reduces them to nothing more than their inherent differences. Instead, include language and perks that invite women of all walks of life to apply; this includes being transparent on salary.
3. Start at the top
For a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, your leadership needs to uphold and emulate those values. Time and again, diversity in companies is mainly found in entry-level positions, with women making up 47 percent of entry-level roles, steadily dropping off along the corporate ladder with only 21 percent in C-suite roles. This is called “the broken rung,” which holds women back from being promoted to managerial positions. However, for diversity and inclusion to be meaningful, the entire corporate ladder needs to be diverse, including the executive team.
Often women cite lack of mentorship or growth tracks as barriers to getting promoted. Rather than wait for women to move up the ladder slowly, start now. Make it a tangible goal to have a certain number of women working in certain levels of your companies and recruit deliberately to find the right talent.
4. Look at diversity as a spectrum, not a checklist
If companies are genuine about diversifying their teams, they need to understand what diversity means. It’s time to reevaluate the categories we use regarding identity, especially the way we categorize race and ethnicity. Race is a social construct and a very limiting one at that.
We need workplaces to broaden their understanding of culture and identity beyond a couple of checkboxes. Start with internal surveys in which employees can voluntarily share how they identify. Then, make room to celebrate and accommodate diversity: offer floating cultural holidays or publish materials in different languages.
This year, Governor of California Gavin Newsom officially proclaimed March 20, 2021, as Nowrūz Day. Celebrated by 300 million people worldwide, including Persians, Nowrūz marks the first day of Spring and is regarded as the New Year. In his proclamation, Newsom recognized the rich culture and the many contributions Persians have made to California. Similarly, Facebook and Instagram created Nowrūz-themed photo filters and stickers, respectively, for their users this year. This was the first year Instagram offered these stickers, and Instagram’s announcement of the stickers has been one of their most liked social media posts. Acts of understanding, respect and open celebration like these go a long way toward making minority communities feel seen, valued, and included.
5. Recognize and elevate women employees
In this year’s Women in Tech Report, Tech Radius found that 78 percent of women in tech feel they have to work harder than their coworkers to prove their worth, and 39 percent of women see gender bias as a barrier to promotion in 2021. The way to close the gender gap is to build a bridge to help women get across. Senior leaders need to prioritize retaining and promoting women throughout their careers via strong advancement pipelines and professional development and leadership training opportunities. Reallocate budgets to ensure that a portion goes directly to supporting women in professional development opportunities, with the intention of fast-tracking those employees into managerial positions.
Inclusion also means educating men and white professionals of all levels on unconscious biases and encouraging allyship programs at work. The burden of inclusion should not fall on the employees with diverse identities; people should instead make an effort to understand the history of exclusion and make conscientious and aggressive efforts to dismantle barriers.
6. Listen and learn constantly
It’s not enough to make changes once. The best people to tell you how your policies and strategies are failing are the people who you’re failing — your employees. Continuously reach out, conduct surveys, and get feedback from your women employees to ensure they feel a sense of belonging and learn what improvements can progress further. You’ll be surprised by the different inclusive approaches you discover when you give a voice to everyone.
We challenge leaders, executives, and hiring departments to make measurable and meaningful moves by the end of this year. Create the strategic plan of action today to carry your organization further inequality by next year’s International Women’s Day.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a leader or member of the executive or hiring teams, you need to hold your employers accountable and challenge them to push boundaries. Recreating the workplace is everyone’s responsibility.
Diversity and Diversity
In many small to medium-size businesses, decision-makers, busy net-workers at all levels lack awareness of the growth of diversity in their companies- marked by the average CEO’s Mostly Top Management Lead/Top Executives (for example, in 2013 the Top Executive in an XYZ Company earned $1.2 million) can easily overlook diversity programs in their organizations.
But in at least one of those companies, the Diversity embrace leadership team at the company reported an impact on its bottom line of $ program led the company to correct hundreds of high-profile discrimination or diversity lawsuits. The reports reveal that few organizations across the nation are taking sufficient steps to improve discrimination awareness, including implementing comprehensive diversity initiatives and promoting diversity initiatives in their organization.
Diversity training is essential for the day-to-day inclusion of diverse workforce members.
Earning Center Research, Inc. released a report that ” mixing equality and diversity after 40 years of courtroom acceptance is a significant item on many companies’ agenda.” They also noted that ” compares to recent decades, diversity training from the early 1980’s has been less widely utilized and not less expensive in organizations. In fact, many organizations doubt but confirm that it is a necessary and important part of increasing diversity awareness and awareness of equality after 40.” They went so far as to suggest that “if organizations replace aversion to diversity with the fear of missing a critical opportunity/future growth/success event, it may be a picture of diminished progress.”
My point is this:
If selective acceptance of diversity during the last several decades, it’s likely that corporate leaders, past and present, are enlarged from their Strategic Business and Human Relations incident cavities. And there’s certainly one specific and uniquely human issue- and this is: More Women are coming and, we must not turn our backs on the imperative of flattering more women in executive roles. When companies with diverse, executive-level women mingle with one another, we see that culturally forward learning is happening-and. These women companies can accept partnering on diversities around facts that actually applies to them.
Now, you may ask yourself, how is diversity advantageous?
Well, if you’re a large organization with an outstanding brand, you certainly have a point being a brand. But you also have a wealth of folks to support you to address diversity. Your female leaders understand that women share their challenges relating to diversity which means that they fall into a dense membership. The diversity and inclusion of women in decision-makers positions offer a win-win strategy that helps them and their organizations achieve their goals.
Now, of course, closing specific key talent from non- Deserving candidates, how do you address this risk? Well, you probably have answers to accommodate that non-deserving candidate as they begin to speak with a non-deserving candidate. So you have your answers down pat right when the candidate is selected. So think about it. I’ am not in any way saying that a non-deserving candidate is not going to be self-motivated, self-directed in their team building, and steer-men experience. They will be. It’s just one of the hidden costs of diversity in an organization of500-600 in the first year.
Lastly, my warnings can only connote one arrow of risk approach. It’s a risk that has the potential to cost you a lot of money to acquire that new diversity leader. A critical employee can be bad for your bottom line because they have absolutely no clue that you are non-deserving. They’d excel at getting and sharing negative stories about their male peers. They’d raise a′s in their brains to cause them to have fewer selves. They’d be able to estimate your bottom line more. But don’t invest any money in them,” you’re not frankly failing. If your business principles are sound, your contributions to diversity/representation are on the rise, and you’re willing to cut a start and end for them, well and good. Appropriately, they should be carried over your company’s natural team dynamic, thus making a strategic fit.
Sometimes, you need to step back and examine the beauty in your eyes, listening to yourself, your gut, and the advice of your gut.
The question to ask your people is: “we’re talking a win-win here. How can this offer be considered a win for me, the executive, and the business? If you take a collective view of this issue, you might make a better decision in the future down the road. Let’s examine this for a moment and then “go for it”!
Even if you think diversity is not an issue for you, organizations OUT Believe meant diversity!