It’s a week that gives us an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women and non-binary or gender diverse communities in advancing gender equality, while highlighting the work that still needs to be done to make gender parity a reality in the workplace.
- According to Statistics Canada, women have been more affected by COVID-19 than their male counterparts, with women making up 53.7% of the year-over-year losses in employment. Mothers are also far more likely to leave the workforce entirely due to shouldering the brunt of child care work in the pandemic.
- The unemployment rate for transgender and gender nonconforming respondents in Ontario has been estimated to be 20%, more than double the provincial average.
- In the HRPA and CPHR Canada national survey, while HR is a female-dominated industry (84% of respondents identified as female), men are still more statistically successful in attaining higher salaries and higher positions.
- According to the Women in the Workplace study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute, for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted — and this gap was even larger for women of colour (i.e. only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted.)
- Women, especially women of colour, were more likely to be placed in positions that put them at risk of COVID-19.
This year’s theme, Advancing Gender Equality for all, reminds us that gender equality not only benefits employers, a recent study illustrated that bridging the gender equality gap in the workplace could boost Canada’s economy by $150 billion. But everyone.
For HR professionals, any efforts to progress gender parity must prioritize intersectionality in the workplace to be inclusive.
Addressing the gender parity gap at work:
Many HR professionals already have policies and practices in place to support women, gender non-conforming individuals and gender diverse workers. But for every organization, there are still steps we can take to ensure pathways to leadership, growth and opportunities are open to everyone.
Here are a few tips:
- Strengthen inclusive hiring practices. Organizations can set diversity targets, require unconscious bias training for staff (especially those involved in hiring or performance reviews), ensure managers are equipped to support employees and make sure evaluation criteria is clear and consistent.
- Assume that trans and non-binary individuals are in your workforce even when they are not visible. It’s a good way to see if your organization’s policies and measures are truly inclusive.
- Examine gender bias in pay. The gender pay gap is far from being closed but HR professionals can level the playing field by being transparent about wages and ensuring access to paid leave, for example.
- Review your input. Evaluate the amount of input that women, non-conforming and gender diverse individuals have in your organization and note where they can get more involved in decision-making.
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