For gender equality in the workplace to be achieved, both women and men need to be able to enjoy the exact same, opportunities, rewards and resources, regardless of their gender. Significant progress on the matter needs to be made in many different countries around the world. And countries that do not already have company policies for gender equality need to take drastic measures, soon.
An easy way to start preparing the implementation of gender equality policies in the workplace is to divide the process into categories. Specific categories, each one more important than the other that, if followed to the letter will help reduce the phenomenon of gender inequality in Europe.
Schedule based on the needs of the employees
In the work place, it is very important for both genders to feel comfortable when it comes to the schedule. Flexibility with the schedule can, not only promote gender equality but also help the employees bond with each other as well as perform better.
Providing the employees with a flexible schedule, will benefit the company as well. For example, women are the ones responsible for childcare. In other words they will be the ones to deal with everything. From a parent- teacher meeting all the way to an emergency doctor’s appointment. With flexible hours in the workplace, women will be able to schedule most of those obligations so that they can always be on time for work, never mix different obligations and as a result, be able to keep their current working position or even aim for a higher one.
Train the Managers
Everyone knows that, ascending to the position of the manager mean a lot more responsibilities towards the company as well as the employees. Every manager out there, man or woman, needs to get proper training for that position. And not just for the basics. Unfortunately a lot of managers do not know exactly how to treat their employees, on so many different levels.
A bad manager is not necessarily a bad person. Just a poorly trained manager. Managers need to learn to reward their employees based on their performance, give them feedback to help them improve and most importantly, not judge them based on their gender. A manager that judges and ‘’punishes’’ a woman for taking a break for childcare, is a manager that needs to get better training. Proper manager training for equal employee treatment in the workplace, will definitely promote gender equality.
Bring childcare into the workplace
Parents need to spend time with their children, especially in the very beginning. For women, this is the most sensitive issue and the main reason why most of them drop out of work. A child and especially a baby needs constant care. So the maternity leave is a priority for many women, no matter their position in a company. And unfortunately, this is what keeps women behind in the workplace. If a woman takes a maternity leave, to care for her child that mean that she will be leaving her job behind. It will not be long before someone comes in to take that position. And that is not fair for any woman that just became a mother.
Women need access to childcare facilities, out of school care and breastfeeding facilities in the workplace or close to it. That way they will not have to take a longer maternity leave or turn their job into a part time job and thus minimize their opportunities in the labour market. These solutions are already being implemented in many European countries and are resulting to significant improvement for women in the workplace.
However, more steps need to be taken. According to official studies presented by organizations such as the OECD, the gap between men and women in the workplace has not yet been filled, even in countries like Sweden, that, in general, appear to be representatives of gender equality.
These issues in the workplace are very deep-seeded and will take a very long time to resolve. However, with movements for gender equality and strong activists at the helm, progress seems to move forward that much quicker.