How to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace: Lessons From Lady Bosses

Updated on January 22, 2021
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Even with all of the advancements women have made in society, the truth is that gender equality is still not a reality.

Women have been doing their part too – they’re more likely to have earned a bachelor’s degree by age 29 and make up 47% of the US workforce.[1] With nearly 74.6 million women in the workforce and more than 10 million women business owners, some may be surprised to learn just how distant gender equality in the workplace is (while others may not be so surprised).[1]

It’s time for employers and small business owners to step up their commitment to gender equality with fair policies and unwavering support. Jump to our infographic to learn how you can promote gender equality at your workplace by taking notes from some inspiring female leaders.

What is Gender Equality?

Gender equality means having equal opportunity and access to resources, decision-making, responsibilities, and economic achievement regardless of gender. Currently, gender inequality in the workplace can be seen in things like the pay gap and lack of women in leadership positions.

The Current State of Gender Equality

In 2019, the number of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies reached an all-time high of 33.[2] Sounds promising, right? That means only 6.6% of the most profitable businesses are led by women. It’s important to point out that although progress has been made, we are far from where we need to be.

The lesser-known side of this issue is that the women who are appointed to leadership positions are often done so in times of turmoil. This means they’re faced with more risk going into their position, making success a bigger challenge. This phenomenon is known as the glass cliff and luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid it.

Read the following 11 statistics on gender equality in the workplace to learn about the state of gender equality in business and why it’s important to improve it.

11 Statistics on Gender Equality in the Workplace

  • Women make up 47% of the US workforce. [1]
  • There are nearly 74.6 million women in the workforce. [1]
  • Only 6.6%, or 33, of Fortune 500 companies are led by female CEOs. [2]
  • $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 if we advance women’s equality. [3]
  • Companies ranked highest for gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform national industry medians in financial returns. [3]
  • Mentoring programs have been shown to increase the retention and promotion of minorities and women by 15–38%. [4]
  • Women face two gender biases at work: descriptive (labeling) and prescriptive (expected behavior). [4]
  • At the current rate of progress, the global gender gap will take 108 years to close. [5]
  • Women earn 79 cents for every $1 earned by men, a 1 cent increase [6]
  • 27% of women say they’ve experienced sexual harassment at work.[7]
  • Only 38% of women hold manager-level positions, compared to 62% of men. [8]

Everyone Can Benefit from Gender Equality

Promoting gender equality benefits everyone, both at work and in society. Growth and innovation thrive when everyone in the room feels welcomed and respected (and that means they have to first be given the opportunity to be there). Research has shown that increased diversity can lead to more innovation and creativity, while also decreasing turnover and attracting quality talent. When the workplace improves for women, it improves for everyone – as well as your business.[3]

With National Equality Day approaching on August 26th, look to this infographic for ways to promote gender equality in the workplace. We curated quotes and lessons from some of the women leading today’s businesses and industries to empower women everywhere.

lady boss quotes on gender equality

Everyone is responsible for doing their part to promote gender equality in the workplace. Both men and women should speak up, shape policies and welcome diversity in all areas of business and society. The goal is to build a future in which “female leaders” are regarded as “leaders.”

Infographic Sources:

[1] US Department of Labor [2] Fortune [3] McKinsey 1 2 3  [4] Forbes 1 2 3  [5] World Economic Forum [6] Payscale  [7] Edison Research [8] Women in the Workplace | Inc. | Bustle | Salesforce | The CEO Magazine 

Article Sources:

  1. “12 Stats About Working Women
  2. “The Fortune 500 Has More Female CEOs Than Ever Before
  3. “The Myriad Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
Meredith Wood
GM, New Markets at NerdWallet

Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a GM at NerdWallet.

Meredith launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending and financial management.

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