Gender equality, like so many workplace issues, has certainly gotten its fair share of attention. Like many workplace issues that get a lot of attention, however, too many employers remain unaware of just exactly why they are so important. In fact, the very practice of ignoring these issues or not giving them any attention in the first place is how they eventually rise to such prominence. Here are three reasons why it is important to talk about gender equality in the workplace.
Your workforce is dependent on it
Women comprise roughly 47% of the US labor force, yet hostile working environments (among other factors) are creating a drastic increase in women-owned businesses. In short, when women can’t find a work environment which allows them to adequately balance their home and work life, they are simply starting their own businesses instead.
Men improve themselves, women improve the company
In the 1970s, Muhammad Yunus pioneered the concept of microloans and founded the Grameen Bank in India. From the start, the Grameen Bank focused almost solely and specifically on improving the financial circumstances of women. They found that women made better use of the loans, had a better track record of repayment and they made better lifestyle choices when empowered to do so. The same things that are true of women in India are also true of women in America.
It’s better for your bottom line
A massive study from Pipeline that compiled data from over 4,000 companies in 29 different countries showed that for every 10 percent increase in gender equity, there is a 1-2 percent increase in revenue. In the last 20 years, the women’s sports apparel market has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2016 alone, the women’s athleisure market saw an 11 percent increase that brought it up to $45.9 billion in annual sales. Yet one of the largest names in athletic wear, Nike, inexplicably struggled to find a foothold. Inexplicable that is, until the spring of 2018 when an informal poll of female employees and executives landed on the desk of Nike’s CEO Mark Parker focusing on the toxic work environment for female workers, leading to a massive female revolt within the company. Considering that American women alone wield between $5 and $15 trillion worth of annual purchasing power, it would be wise to listen to what the women in your company have to say about how to reach them.