International Women’s Day held on March 8th every year is a day that is dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. In 2018, #PressForProgress, a campaign with a focused on gender equality specifically, was advocated by many recruitment professionals. In a climate where activism for equality is fuelled by movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, perhaps there has never been a better time to address some of the issues that were faced in establishing gender equality.
The Invisible Glass Ceiling
It has been more than 40 since the phrase “glass ceiling” was coined by American management consultant Marilyn Loden to label those invisible barriers that restrained women from attaining leadership roles in their respective professions. Though over the past forty years with the evolution of the concept of inclusion in the workplace, efforts have been to get more women in “C” suite and board positions. The progress has however not been as it was anticipated which has kept the glass ceiling stubbornly intact. Such a scenario of the global workforce begs answers to the question like
- Are these initiatives ineffective?
- Are they just not working fast enough?
- In 2015 female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20%.
- If women were paid the same as compared to men, the poverty rate for women would be cut in half.
- According to the Institute for Women research Policy, if the change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the past 50 years, it will take another 44 years for women to finally reach pay parity.
Source – International labor organization
Cracks In The Invisible Glass Ceiling
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the glass ceiling finally has developed some cracks. The report Delivering through Diversity published in 2018 discusses the business case for diversity in leadership. According to this report companies belonging to the top quartile that deployed executive-level gender diversity globally have 21% chances of outpacing their fourth-quartile industry competitors with an increased annual turnover after interest and tax. The report further found that putting more women in the leadership role would add 12 trillion USD to global GDP by 2025.
Another report from Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) “Gender Equality Scorecard” published in 2017 shows that since 2013-14 there has been a consistent growth in the representation of women across all management categories. The year 2016-17 saw more than 43 % of management appointments to be given to women.
So you see, the glass ceiling is finally showing cracks, but the pace of this change has been quite slow. According to the latest WGEA data, women hold only 38.4% and 16.5% of positions as managers and CEOs respectively. Though the gender pay gap for full-time employees is trending down, it is still in favor of men, benefiting them irrespective of their profession and industry. According to the above-mentioned study, on average, men are taking home approximately 26,527 USD a year more than women. While the number of female leadership as members of the board of directors has remained static at 24.9% since 2017.
Women in Indian Workforce
- In India, the labor force participation rate for women is one of the lowest in the world. Despite educational gains, the labor force participation rate for women in 2017 was 28.5%.
- Increasing women’s labor force participation by 10 percentage points could add $700 billion to India’s GDP by 2025 (or a 1.4% increase).
More Women in Leadership Roles
Despite progress, women are scarce among senior Leaders; very few women are CEO of the world’s largest corporations. As of the 2018 Fortune list, only 24 women (4.8%) were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. However, women are gradually gaining representation among Executives Committees (ECs) in Fortune Global 100 companies, but they are still a small minority.
Informal employment, lower level of labor force participation, gender pay gaps, and interrupted careers contributes to women’s lack of access to social protections like pensions, which leads to higher rates of poverty among older women as compared to older men.
How Women Professionals Should Address This Problem?
Women also will have to put efforts to make their position strong in their organization. Following are the ways which are worth trying
- Form a separate association of all the women employees in the organization.
- Reach out to the management to develop and implement gender nondiscrimination policy.
- Reach out to fellow female employees on social media platforms and engage on discussion forums.
- Have zero tolerance to any form of harassment
Tactics for HR Managers to Increase the Number of Women in Leadership Roles
1. Adopt the rooney rule and appoint female candidates for open leadership roles
Companies are implementing a version of Rooney Rule, by which a hiring team has to interview at least one minority candidate in the senior position.
2. Women’s colleges should be targeted for mass recruitment
As the saying goes, “fish where the fish are,” if you are intending to boost the mix of women employees on your company’s C suite and leadership roles, tap those places that nurture high-performing women.
3. Implementing programs to train and retain women who are making a comeback
There is an enormous untapped pool of women with the education, talent, and ambition that can help any company to flourish.
4. Focus on the security of female employees
There is an omnipotent concern regarding the security of women which is at the breach. The responsibility rests with the company to ensure that the security of all female employees is viable.
5. Develop and nurture female talents you already have
Your best source of hiring future women leaders in your own company, but you should ensure that women, like men, have all the necessary support of the advisers and sponsors.
The face of the global workforce is changing at a rapid pace which has turned to be one of the biggest challenges HR managers or talent recruiters are facing today. Entry of newer generation in cultural evolution in a workplace, extensive immigration, the booming economy and evolving technologies all have and will contribute indispensably to create a progressive but a complex corporate work ecosystem that will break down the old taboos and create new horizons of recruiting.
cFIRST Think Tank is the team that researches and produces content for cFirst. This team comprises of seasoned content and digital design professionals and background screening industry veterans. Together we produce insightful blogs, infographics and reports meant for HR and background screening professionals.