Change in company culture is key to gender equality in the workplace – study
MANILA, Philippines – Company cultures need to change so that men and women experience equality in the workplace, according to strategy and consulting firm Accenture.
“The impact of workplace culture is important to achieving gender equality. No matter what a woman does, even if so much effort is made, if the workplace culture is not conducive [to equality], your effort is limited,” said Ambe Tierro, senior manager of the Accenture Philippines’ Advanced Technology Center.
According to the study, gaps in education, cultural biases, and unequal gender expectations are not the only issues limiting women. Company cultures that do not take concrete steps to address gender inequality add to the number of factors affecting the advancement of women in the workplace.
“While there are a number of social and economic barriers to equality in the workplace – including educational disparities, childcare and domestic responsibilities, and cultural biases – an organization’s culture can hold women back, too,” it said in its annual study on gender equality in the workplace, titled “Getting to Equal 2018: Creating a culture where everyone thrives.”
Supporting the equitable workplace
The study found changing company cultures will help achieve a more equitable workplace quickly because employees will be able to feel results sooner.
According to the study’s findings, changes in company culture to foster a more equal working environment can be achieved on 3 fronts: holding leadership accountable, creating company policies, and fostering empowering workplace environments.
With accountable leadership, the study says those in management and leadership positions must be able to communicate to company and outside partners that gender equality is a priority for the company.
“Culture is set from the top, so if women are to advance, gender equality must be a strategic priority for the C-suite,” said Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership & human resources officer.
In turn, this must translate to action through the creation of policies and practices that support efforts to address unequal gender expectations between men and women.
In particular, the study cites that men – not just women – must be encouraged to take paternal leaves.
According to Tierro, policies that address shared responsibilities outside of work, such as in the home and family, will also help to advance women in a company.
“Maternal leave is not enough. [Companies] need paternity leave too because maternal leave alone reinforces its the woman’s job to take care of the home and children,” Tierro said.
The study explained that with leadership and action, workplace environments that empower employees will be created.
According to Accenture's study, 3 main factors in the workplace environment are strongly linked to the advancement of women: being given trust and responsibility, providing training opportunities, and having the freedom to be oneself at work.
In addition to this, the study also said that fostering more equality among men and women will lead to the benefit of all employees in the workplace. “Creating a culture of equality unlocks human potential and uncovers the key drivers of a workplace culture in which everyone can advance and thrive.” – Rappler.com