Yesterday was International Women’s Day. If you haven’t been to a breakfast, lunch or evening drinks, to support this day of recognition and celebration, you’re really missing out…but International Women’s Day is about so much more than recognising the work of women on just one day of the year. As employers and business owners, we have a direct opportunity to contribute to gender equality in the workplace.
Most (if any) business owners we meet aren’t deliberately providing inequitable conditions for their staff. We don’t tend to see one pay rate for men, and another for women, both performing the same role, with the same hours. However, it is possible that someone (statistically more likely to be a woman) working part time, may inadvertently be paid a lower rate than the full time equivalent role.
Sometimes, gender inequity comes from valuing skills and responsibilities differently, for ‘men’s work’ compared to ‘women’s work’. Other times, it comes from business owners and managers making assumptions about what female employees want, in relation to promotions and training.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has found the full-time weekly ordinary earnings for women are still 15.3% less than for men. Many of these reasons are historical and comes down to the perceived value of skills in industries where the workforce is predominantly women. To begin your own gender equity project, you could start by assessing if these biases also exist in your workplace.
There are legislative requirements regarding anti-discrimination, that most business owners would be aware of and abide by. FairWork.gov.au shares some useful questions to ask regarding your businesses approach to gender equity:
- Do your organisation’s policies and practices support pay equity? Is there a transparent performance review process and equitable access to training, promotions, and rewards and benefits programs?
- Does your organisation have an equitable wage setting process that has been checked to ensure it is free of gender bias?
- Are jobs fully and fairly described and valued, and work value factors such as skill, level of responsibility and working conditions consistently measured?
- Has your organisation undertaken a pay equity audit to determine areas and occupations where gender pay inequity may exist? A Payroll Analysis Tool is available from WGEA’s website to help identify gender pay gaps. An audit usually involves a review of the payroll data to identify the areas where there may be gender inequities.
- Are there flexible working arrangements? Are the flexible working arrangements available to all employees, and does the workplace culture support such arrangements?
- Is pay equity incorporated into your organisation’s business objectives and goals?
- Does your organisation compare salaries for men and women upon commencement, yearly and on promotion to analyse where gaps exist and either seek justification for any imbalances or work to eliminate them altogether?
Reviewing your business in relation to these questions annually, will help to keep your business on track for gender equity best practice. In turn, this may help you to attract the best and brightest staff to join your team, and increase workplace happiness, motivation and productivity.
For more details on how we can help you with your staffing needs, get in touch with one of amazing workplace partners today, on 1300 766 380.