Women make up roughly 50 percent of the world’s population. They make up 47 percent [1] of America’s labor force. Still, women in the workplace face a significant gap in pay and opportunities compared to their male colleagues. Women in professional specialties earn 27.3 [2] percent less than men in the same positions and make up just 14.2 percent [3] of senior executives in the S&P 500. If your company can knock down gender barriers, and improve its gender diversity, it can find greater success.

 

Improving your company’s gender diversity can lead to access to different information, viewpoints, and ideas. It also allows your business to serve a more diverse customer base and helps your company attract and retain talented women [4]. All of these ultimately affect your business’s bottom line.

 

A Gallup poll found that gender-diverse business units in a retail company had 14 percent higher average comparable revenue than those units that weren’t as diverse. It also found that gender-diverse business units in a hospitality company had 19 percent higher average quarterly net profits than less-diverse business units.

 

To get the best performance from you company, you should look for these seven ways to knock down gender barriers in your workplace.

 

Build Diversity from the Inside Out [5]

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Slack, a messaging app company, eliminated the years of experience requirement from its job postings. This process helped to encourage qualified women to apply who otherwise wouldn’t because they took time away from the workforce to raise children or care for aging parents.

 

Deborah Rosado Shaw, the chief global diversity and engagement officer of PepsiCo, recommends that you build diversity from within by having your employees support their female colleagues. Helping women in the workplace does not just mean being nice; it means saying something or sharing feedback that helps them to stand taller.

 

Bring Men Into the Fight [6]

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Companies should educate male employees on gender barriers and encourage them to help their women colleagues combat these obstacles. Alexis Jones, the founder of ProtectHer, succeeds in informing men about these barriers by making her message personal, and addressing her audience as her allies. These strategies help to get men interested and engaged in her message. When you engage men and give them the proper knowledge and tools, they too can become advocates for women.

 

Teach Employees About What is NOT Sexual Harassment [7]

Yes, it is still important that your staff learn what is considered sexual harassment. It’s just as important that you teach your workers what behaviors are not considered sexual harassment. Encourage male employees to ask female colleagues on a coffee run, or to join them for lunch, and assured that this is not harassing behavior. Including women in social events helps to promote a greater sense of gender equality in the workplace.

 

Establish Networking Initiatives [8]

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Creating networking strategies that include all employees, aids in knocking down workplace-gender barriers. Events such as corporate outings and programs like mentoring build employee connections. These relationships develop an employee’s sense of belonging and help to erode gender barriers.

 

Emphasize Inclusion of the Opposite Sex [9]

Excluding women is not the way to solve sexual harassment. Rather, as with number three of this list, employees need to learn to include female colleagues in their social circles. The inclusion of women bolsters gender equality in the workplace.

 

Educate Employees on how to Handle Workplace Romance Situations [10]

Educate employees on how to steer professionally through sticky situations that can arise when office romances occur. Guide employees through such things as how to properly obtain consent and how to turn down a co-worker.

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Eliminate Secrecy Surrounding Workplace Romances [11]

Employees will just keep an office romance a secret if these relationships are discouraged. When a workplace romance is kept secret, your business can’t eliminate favoritism that could result from these relationships. The elimination of secrecy surrounding workplace romances also reduces the rumors that occur when these relationships are kept secret. These rumors can hurt the chances of male colleagues including women in social events such as getting coffee or lunch.

 

The Wrap

Use these seven steps to knock down gender barriers in your workplace. A more gender-diverse workplace can boost productivity and increase profits [12]. Breaking gender barriers improves both the moral and financial state of your company. These seven steps are easy and inexpensive ways you wom-can use to promote gender equality throughout your business.

 

 

[1] https://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/qf-laborforce-10.htm
[2] https://www.resourcefulmanager.com/women-workplace-statistics/
[3] http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/24/investing/female-ceo-pipeline-leadership/
[4] http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/166220/business-benefits-gender-diversity.aspx
[5] http://fortune.com/2016/06/27/united-state-of-women-gender-barriers/?iid=leftrail
[6] http://fortune.com/2016/06/27/united-state-of-women-gender-barriers/?iid=leftrail
[7] http://blog.shrm.org/blog/5-ways-to-break-down-gender-barriers-in-the-workplace
[8] http://blog.shrm.org/blog/5-ways-to-break-down-gender-barriers-in-the-workplace
[9] http://blog.shrm.org/blog/5-ways-to-break-down-gender-barriers-in-the-workplace
[10] http://blog.shrm.org/blog/5-ways-to-break-down-gender-barriers-in-the-workplace
[11] http://blog.shrm.org/blog/5-ways-to-break-down-gender-barriers-in-the-workplace
[12] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/07/gender-diversity-business-study_n_5945312.html
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