The fourth week in September marks Gender Equality Week in Canada. It was officially recognized by the passing of Bill C-309, the Gender Equality Week Act in 2018.

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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.