THE STATE OF GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE 2017

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The Fairygodboss mission is to improve the workplace for women. Since 2015, we’ve provided a free and safe platform for women to share their workplace experiences authentically in the form of job reviews and discussion boards. Women in our community give advice to each other about how they’ve navigated their careers, work-life balance, and find job listings with employers who believe in gender equality.

Fairygodboss reaches hundreds of thousands of women every month. As a consequence of our rapidly growing community, we’ve amassed unique, proprietary data which we summarize each year in this annual report.

This year, we’ve updated the data in last year’s inaugural report, and provide an overview of the wide range of issues affecting women in the workplace. We present research and data on what women are saying about their job satisfaction, gender equality at work, and data on how women look for jobs and what factors matter in terms of whether they stay in them.

Given recent developments, in 2017 we’ve added three new sections to our report. First, we’ve dedicated a new section to sexual harassment and how men and employers can also play a role in addressing it. Second, we’ve devoted a new section to our findings on intersectionality, due to the fact that the experiences of women of color can diverge from Caucasian women in meaningful ways. Finally, we’ve added new information about the important role that company’s internal employee resource groups for women play.

Fairygodboss corporate partners have been leaders in improving the workplace for women in many cases, though we broadcast best employer practices wherever they occur. To that end, we celebrate a number of initiatives and programs -- and suggest 7 areas of focus for any company looking to improve their employer brand, and recruitment and retention of women:

  • Approach your recruitment strategy for women differently than for men.

    Women job seekers look for jobs in different places, rely more on their communities and make decisions about where to work based on different benefits and work culture factors than men. Make sure your recruiting strategies are aligned with what women are looking for.

  • Examine Pay Practices Within Your Company

    It’s good for business performance and employee engagement. Companies are increasingly taking on compensation audits, in part due to investor pressure. Women in the workplace are very aware of the gender wage gap within society and concerned that their compensation is fair as compared to men’s. The investment community is also responding to evidence that gender diversity improves corporate performance.

  • Prioritize gender diversity, particularly within management.

    Consider whether your company’s leadership composition reflects your culture and priorities. Women are keen observers of whether there is gender diversity in management and view the paucity of women in leadership roles as evidence of gender inequality. Women also are more satisfied in their jobs when they believe their CEOs believe in gender diversity.

  • Expand support of new families and consider improving your parental leave policies.

    Women with young children have the lowest labor-force participation rates. In 2017, companies continue to improve their parental leave benefits and invest in programs to support employees with new children. Make sure your company’s leave policies are competitive and reflect your commitment to women and families.

  • Examine flexibility and work-life balance at your company.

    Women report greater job satisfaction when they work at employers who provide workplace flexibility. While many employers are viewed by women to be family-friendly in terms of the hours they work, many remain disappointed about official policies or the inconsistent way those policies may be applied (or modeled by leadership) throughout their organizations.

  • Empower your women’s resource groups.

    Women whose companies offer employee resource groups devoted to women overwhelmingly choose to join them, and most participants tell Fairygodboss that they’ve been able to reap personal career benefits or effect company policy through these internal networks. Investing in and supporting these groups can improve women’s engagement levels and be an effective channel for communication and change.

  • Engage men and male leadership.

    While certain issues such as sexual harassment can be viewed as pitting men against women, companies committed to creating more inclusive and gender equal cultures must engage male allies, particularly within the senior leadership ranks. Women are sharply aware of their CEO’s commitment to gender diversity, in particular.

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