It was International Woman’s Day on 8th March 2017. This gave us all an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women. But it is also gave employers an opportunity to consider the challenges that female staff face in the workplace.
So, why should employers pay attention to issues that affect women? Here are five very good reasons that can make a difference to the success of your organisation:
1. Diversity means a more successful business
Recent research from global management consultants, McKinsey & Company, tells us that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to financially outperform their competitors. There is a correlation between companies who commit themselves to more diverse leadership and greater success. According to McKinsey, more diverse companies are better able to win top talent and improve their customer needs, employee satisfaction, and decision making, which all leads to greater returns for your business.
2. Retaining talent is key to your organisation
Recruiting and retaining loyal and talented staff can be a challenge. If you want to retain women in your workforce so that you are able to benefit from them having a long career with you, then being perceived as a diverse and family friendly organisation is likely to be key. If your staff find it difficult to reconcile having a balanced family life and working for your organisation, they may start looking elsewhere. So, consider how you deal with staff during and after periods of maternity and other types of family leave, requests for flexible working and part time staff. Could you make your organisation stand out as an employer of choice for staff with family responsibilities?
3. Sexual harassment at work should end
More than half of women say they have been sexually harassed at work and most admit to not reporting it, recent research by the TUC and the Everyday Sexism Project suggests. There can be an assumption that workplace sexual harassment is a thing of the past, but unfortunately it is not. As well as causing difficult issues for your staff, this can cause your business problems too with affected employees possibly having increased absences, potential performance issues, wishing to bring grievances and potential claims.
4. Increased focus on equal pay
According to the Fawcett Society (a charity for gender equality), many women can expect to earn significantly less than men over their careers and the reasons for this include t discrimination. Some women are paid less than men for the same work – this can happen when a man and a woman are doing exactly the same or similar role and receiving different pay, or where work of equivalent value carried out by women is at a lower rate. From April 2017 employers with 250 plus staff will have to calculate their gender pay gap and publish the details online by April 2018. It is quite likely these obligations will trickle down to smaller employers. In any event, equal pay is an issue that is likely to gain more attention in the coming months and therefore awareness of your staff will increase. So, if you think this might be an issue in your workplace it is important to get your house in order now.
5. Inspired and engaged staff  
Staff who feel inspired, valued and empowered by you will be a powerful force for the benefit for your organisation. For all staff the strongest driver for employee engagement is a sense of feeling valued and involved. So, ensure your female staff are clearly involved in decision making, able to voice their ideas, and have opportunities to develop their jobs. Taking positive steps to advance gender equality will benefit your organisation too.
Our employment solicitors work in partnership with organisations to improve their HR practices and advise on employment issues. To discuss this article or any other HR issue call 01392 210700 or