A THREE-YEAR Gender Equality Project has revealed new and innovative ways to tackle gender inequality in the workplace.
According to new research by the Melbourne University, gender equality targeted policies and workplace evaluations on work attitudes and sexist events at work are among a list of factors that may help to improve workplace equality between men and women.
Lead researcher at the University of Melbourne Victor Sojo said the high number of males in leadership roles has an affect on office climate.
“Most organisations are being led by men,” he said.
“In this context it is easier for a masculine norm to be generated and transmitted from one generation to the next one either explicitly or implicitly.”
He says male dominance in the workplace has also led to an informal culture that includes acceptance of sexual jokes and slang, exclusion of women from group activities and lack of support for women in the workplace, hindering women’s functioning and growth at work.
“It is important for organisations to identify the causes of inequality observed in the fit, functioning or growth of men and women at work.”
Mr Sojo says the best way to identify the existence of sexism in the workplace is through audits looking at biases and conducting surveys.
He identified key areas he believes are important to evaluate possible inequalities between the sexes are in the areas of hiring and career progression.
“Research has shown that women do better in work contexts where there are equal opportunities for development for men and women, personnel management practices and decision making processes are formal and unbiased,” he said.
He said positions in the businesses hierarchy, ratio of women to men and salaries of both male and females should be evaluated to find any injustice towards women in both hiring and career progression.
“If workers are given enough decision latitude and control over their work life there is a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and low level sexism, and [in work environments] where women have a rich and strong social network.”
Mr Sojo said targeting low level sexism, communicating company policies on gender equality and targeting factors that influence women’s performance in the workplace were three things all companies should be doing to foster the growth of women in their workplace.
Image Sources: http://teenage-feminist.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/we-cannot-sit-back-down-gender-equality.html and http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2011/01/21/does-gender-determine-workplace-strengths/