In a perfect society, inclusion and diversity would be embedded in daily life, and all individuals would be considered equal. Unlearning the social systems created through centuries of colonization, patriarchal cultures, and gender inequality is part of advancing diversity and inclusion. “Unlearning” is the process of deliberately recognizing one’s preconceived notions about race, sexuality, gender, and ability while attempting to comprehend why these prejudices occur and how to overcome them (Leighton, 2020). Gender inequality in workplaces is a multifaceted problem in organizational systems, processes, and activities.
The leadership gap between men and women significantly contributes to gender inequity in the work setting. Leadership is the practice through which a person, for example, a manager, encourages others to achieve organizational objectives. Compared with males, fewer women are in leadership positions, which is one of the primary contributors to gender disparity in institutional settings. Organizational members are more likely to feel that the atmosphere for women in the company is favorable when women occupy prominent roles (Koskinen Sandberg, 2017). Women in leadership roles indicate the company’s commitment to gender equality. Companies with fewer female high-ranking executives have a huge gender salary gap (Koskinen Sandberg, 2017). When women have a male supervisor, they feel less supported by the organization than when they have a female manager.
Creating a culture in which more women are ambitious does not hinder males. On the contrary, both men and women are more ambitious in the numerous organizations that have made the most strides toward gender equality (Kang & Kaplan, 2019). When women work for organizations in which leadership seems feasible and desirable, they will work towards achieving the goals. On the other hand, women are more willing to take a step back from leadership if they believe the effort is not worth it. A healthy atmosphere for diversity emerges when various groups are seen to be represented, empowered, and treated equally by organizational members. When workers perceive a less favorable atmosphere for diversity, they perceive more discrimination in the workplace.
The organizational structure is a component that might institutionalize gender inequality. The structure of an institution consists of staff hierarchies, departments, and other organizational components. Job ladders, often divided by gender, are an example of organizational bias in the hierarchy of a company (Bonet et al., 2020). Ideally, such gender-segregated employment ladders exist within several sections of a business. Women who belong to gender-segregated structures within companies have less insight into workplace information, lower status, and fewer opportunities for advancement within the company (Bonet et al., 2020). This is possibly due to the fact that women in gender-segregated networks are less recognized and lack access to influential individuals. In addition, in gender-segregated systems, it is especially challenging for women to locate female mentors due to the dearth of women in roles of authority. As a result, the organizational structure might be characterised by gender inequities that diminish women’s prospects of attaining executive roles.
Gender disparity may be minimized if a company’s leadership gap between men and women is transformed successfully. Numerous businesses have to take measures to build more diversified leadership teams. For instance, they provide training sessions for women, enroll them in leadership programs, and engage senior women to lead by example (Abouzahr et al., 2017). By fostering the correct organizational culture, businesses may encourage the desire of men and women and draw from a larger depth of talent to build the kind of future-winning leadership team.
To assist in gender disparity, the organizational structure within a firm can be changed. It is essential to implement and actively push structural reforms like flexible work. Survey results indicate that both women and men consider flexible employment the most viable method for promoting diversity (Abouzahr et al., 2017). Nearly 60 percent of women and men report the difficulty of balancing growing professional duties with outside obligations as the primary reason for their reluctance to develop within their organization (Abouzahr et al., 2017). Companies could confront this issue head-on by providing part-time work, parental leave, job-sharing, and yearly leave buybacks to all employees, including top executives.
Abouzahr, K., Krentz, M., Tracey, C., & Tsusaka, M. (2017). Dispelling the Myths of the Gender “Ambition Gap.” BCG Global; BCG Global.
Bonet, R., Cappelli, P., & Hamori, M. (2020). Gender differences in speed of advancement: An empirical examination of top executives in the Fortune 100 firms. Strategic Management Journal, 41(4), 708–737.
Kang, S. K., & Kaplan, S. (2019). Working toward gender diversity and inclusion in medicine: Myths and solutions. The Lancet, 393(10171), 579–586.
Koskinen Sandberg, P. (2017). Intertwining gender inequalities and gender‐neutral legitimacy in job evaluation and performance‐related pay. Gender, Work & Organization, 24(2), 156-170.
Leighton, M. (2020). Myths of meritocracy, friendship, and fun work: Class and gender in North American academic communities. American Anthropologist, 122(3), 444-458.