Each year on International Women's Day — March 8 — employers across industries make headlines by promoting their commitment to gender equality. Some companies publish timely reports and host events highlighting strategies for women's advancement in the workplace, while some companies develop campaigns and products honoring trailblazing women.
At Fairygodboss, we love to see countless employers show up to draw attention to International Women’s Day. That said, we also know that only 63% of women who review their company on Fairygodboss say that they are treated fairly, 65% would recommend their company to another women, and 21% percent suggest they were not promoted equally to men.
We have a long way to go until we reach true gender parity. So this year on March 8, we are taking a look at how to translate the momentum around International Women’s Day into real improvement for women in the workplace every day.
Here are five strategies companies can exercise year-round to advance women in the workplace:
Companies that want to get serious about helping women will make diversity as mission-critical as their other business goals. Setting targets like this makes success — and failure — measurable. Companies that share these goals publically also take an extra step to hold themselves accountable — and potentially inspire other companies to follow suit.
Despite increased awareness of the gender pay gap, wage discrepancies persist within most companies. Compensation audits help companies understand where these discrepancies are — so they can take action to not only correct them but prevent them from happening. Employers can ensure accountability by promising to share pay audit results with their employees, as well as their plans for future pay transparency and equality practices.
The U.S. is the only developed nation that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave, so it’s critical that employers take responsibility and offer benefits that will help support employees — and, in turn, retain them. The best policies are at least 12 weeks, are 100 percent paid, and are inclusive of all employees and all parents — not just mothers.
If leveraged effectively, employee resource groups (ERGs) for women can be crucial tools to help get more women into management positions by encouraging and perhaps formalizing mentorship and sponsorship, by engaging executives and male allies, and to help enhance initiatives or parental leave benefits.
Fairygodboss research shows that men and women look for jobs differently and have distinct reasons for searching. While 36% of men leave their job for a higher salary, 47% of women leave their jobs due to changes in their personal life or because some aspect their current position just isn’t working; work-life balance tends to be paramount to their job satisfaction. Employers that are aware of women’s specific needs and concerns will be most effective in attracting and retaining top talent.
Finally, companies need to continue to make these conversations and initiatives central to their mission. By helping to increase awareness through discourse — and then implementing concrete plans to bring their goals to fruition — employers can do their part to support women at work every day of the year.
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