The leaders of the most advanced and industrialised economies in the world, the G7, met last weekend to deliberate on key issues relating to international security, economic growth, and climate change. The inclusion of gender equality and women empowerment among the issues to be discussed was a significant and strategic step in the right direction.
Furthermore, the relevance and importance of this issue were accentuated by the appointment of the G7’s first Gender Equality Advisory Council. This body is vested with the responsibility of advising the G7, making clear and realistic recommendations, and of seeking the G7 consensus for the implementation of those recommendations.
It is noteworthy that despite considerable strides and progress made regarding gender equality since the 1957 Treaty of Rome, significant gaps continue to exist in relation to pay equity – equal pay for equal work, equality in decision-making, equality in opportunities and equality in economic independence, among others.
The time has come for serious-minded, dynamic and progressive organizations to step up to the plate and begin to walk the talk. In actual fact, if the recommendations of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council are anything to go by, employers in large organizations including the public sector in the G7 countries may soon be subject to penalties, if they fail to achieve pay equity in favour of women by 2030.
The business case for gender equality and women empowerment in the workplace remains as strong as it has ever been, maybe even stronger, considering that it was one of the core issues for deliberation last weekend. Thus, with an increase in the number, engagement, and participation of women in the workplace, organisations will begin to experience increased organisational performance and impact, competitive advantage, accelerated growth, increase in the number of actively engaged employees, access to a wider pool of talents and significantly reduced staff turnover.
The key questions are – How do organisations successfully navigate the waters of developing and the implementing policies, strategies, and action plans required for the needed change, and to transition into workplaces where gender equality and women empowerment become a culture? How do organisations enhance their competitiveness and their brand by gaining recognition as one of the best places to work on the ground of gender parity?
The answers lie at what is done at the top and from the top – as with any other issue of strategic importance, and unless a transformational change is embraced and driven at a C-Suite level, gender equality will remain a nice-to-do but not a need-to-do. At the risk of sounding like a prophet of doom, private and public corporations may soon face some kind of penalty for non-compliance.
The litmus test below may be helpful in finding out if your organisation is a Gender-Responsive organisation.
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is the founder/CEO and Principal Consultant at vantage Dymensions. She is also the founder and CEO of Roegate College, an e-Learning College.