Gender equity is not only a workplace or business issue. Gender equity touches nearly every facet of life, from education to the economy, healthcare to innovation. In each way it impacts our lives, it also has potential to impact your business.
While women have much to offer the economy and represent 51 percent of the entry-level workforce, they quickly lose velocity in their career trajectory. This is reflected when you look at the top executives around the world. Only 21 percent are women.
What happened to all the women? Men are promoted at 30 percent greater rates than women and women are taking their efforts elsewhere, faced with a system that is less likely support them.
As women fall out of the workforce due to a lack of opportunity, they face a lack of funds not only in their best career years, but also later in life. In fact, among those aged 65 and older, twice as many women as men live in poverty. Women then rely more on the federal government for aid (using valuable national resources) or other family members.
While women, on average, earn less and are more likely to be overlooked for top-paying jobs, they’re also under the burden of the pink tax, with women’s products on average priced higher than those branded toward men.
By closing the gender equity gap, we change this trajectory and unlock positive economic outcomes in the United States up to $2 trillion, an economic opportunity for all.
The Skills Gap
The world is aging and the workforce is shrinking. Reports show a projected shortfall of 40 million skilled workers with tertiary education by 2020. Higher labor force participation by women can offset this shrinking global workforce.
As noted above, women are leaving the workplace; partly because they face headwinds in moving up the corporate ladder and procuring leadership positions. Ensuring women stick around, especially now when they’re needed most, requires companies meet to their needs, champion them in the workplace and shatter the glass ceiling.
Related: The Optimistic Future
The tech industry, which is comprised primarily of men, at 75 percent male participation, could particularly benefit from the female labor force.
Technology is one of the largest drivers of American economic growth, but tech innovation is stifled due to a lack of qualified talent — including women who are obtaining college degrees at faster rates than men and who bring highly desirable skills to the table.
To remain competitive on a global scale, the U.S. tech sector needs to foster inclusive environments that spawn innovation.
Women are the most educated cohort, but they also hold almost 67 percent of all student loan debt. There’s an almost 10-point gap between women’s education attainment and their burden of student debt. Why? While women may have the same educational costs as their male colleagues, on average, they do not receive the same lifetime salaries. This gap makes it increasingly difficult to pay down student debt; the issue is exacerbated when women leave their jobs altogether due to career headwinds.
Ensuring equity in your external and internal hiring processes ensures qualified women are hired and later promoted, benefiting your company and reducing these economic issues related to education costs.
Women are not the only cohort that suffers from the emotional and physical toll of gender inequity, men do as well. The rigid expectations of men create toxic masculinity which can lead to harmful psychological issues. In fact, men experience suicide at a four-times greater rate than women, a statistic often related to the narrow definition of masculinity. As well, in many instances men are restricted to the role of breadwinner, when 48 percent of working fathers would prefer to stay home with their children.
Related: Gender Equity as a Men’s Issue
What’s Stopping You?
There are many reasons to support gender equity. Beyond the social issue, as an economic, educational, health or innovation issue. Gender inequity appears in many facets of life, and each has the power to impact your company.
Are you ready to achieve gender parity?
A good place to start is to ensure equity in your own realm of influence. Pipeline can help, by analyzing your company’s current state and providing a road map to gender equity. Want to see how? Check it out, with a free demo.