The “smart economy” behind gender equality

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WE have all been victims of stereotypes. The nursery rhymes we hummed and recited as children are full of societal and archetypal labels, including those that relate to gender. We then grow older, learn more about the world, and our transformation is complete – we are so immersed in cultural norms that we find ourselves unable to look beyond gender norms. Before we know it, we are part of a culture that tends to turn a blind eye to gender equality and inclusion.

Males should be stronger and females are seen as more caring and communal. We carry these beliefs with us to work and the stereotypes conjure up an image of what constitutes a good leader. Men are seen as more agency, more assertive or dominant in their leadership style. The challenge begins when female leaders find it difficult to showcase their abilities and skills and crush the prototype of leadership due to, among other work issues, the lack of comprehensive corporate policies advocating for inclusion and gender parity.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. One of the frontiers of crushing gender bias within the corporate setting is the under-representation of women in leadership and middle management positions that offer better salaries. We discussed in a recent article that in the Philippines, male employees are on average paid more than female workers.

Why is it so difficult to close the gender gap and promote inclusion? In a sense, this can be attributed to apprehensions about embracing a change in cultural mindset. Although the solutions we need to undertake are clear, it involves more hard work to bring about change and overcome socio-cultural beliefs.

What most companies overlook is the “smart economics” behind overcoming gender disparity. Promoting women’s empowerment and inclusiveness for all, regardless of gender, makes sense when you think about its positive effects, not only for the company but also for its contribution to the global economy.

Women make up half of the world’s population. Leaving them underrepresented, despite an array of readily available solutions, is a perception we need to abandon. Second, addressing this challenge is key to boosting global economic growth. A McKinsey study found that if women had more job opportunities, global gross domestic product could increase by trillions. Companies can help drive this growth further, and companies can address a number of issues to achieve gender equality in the business setup.

Lack of rules

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said promoting gender parity should start in the workplace. Therefore, cultural beliefs that suggest gender bias should be nipped in the bud at the corporate level.

The CFR Women’s Workplace Equality Index shows that many countries still have laws in place that stifle women’s career paths and make it harder for them to find jobs. This runs counter to the smart economy perspective, as it not only affects individual women, it also affects the global economy. Governments should prioritize legal reform and companies should also aim to provide comprehensive labor policies that promote inclusion and support the advancement of women’s careers.

Financial and digital inclusion

Closing the gender gap is about more than advocating for the rights and equal treatment of all, regardless of gender. It also means promoting inclusion in key areas of personal and professional development. Helping to close this gap in terms of financial opportunity is a critical area where companies can weigh in and help.

Compared to men, fewer women have financial or bank accounts, and even less access to financial services, the Asian Development Bank said in a report. To counter this, progress has been made in fintech or the integration of technology into the products offered by financial service providers to educate women about the benefits of these financial services and give them easy access to them. . Fintech companies should pursue this strategy to help close the gender gap and promote inclusiveness.

Equal pay policies

In the Philippines, considered one of the most gender-equal countries according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2021 report, there is still a long way to go to close the gender pay gap. Regarding gender equality in the workplace, a McKinsey report included a comparison of men’s and women’s ability to find gainful employment based on their experience and level of education. The Philippines scored 72 out of a total of 100 for gender parity. While this is good news, this issue shouldn’t be left solely in the hands of the government – ​​businesses should also do their part to maintain the country’s momentum in closing the pay gap.

While there are many systemic barriers that make advancing gender equality more challenging, companies must rise to the challenge. In addition to improving operations and doing more to win the war for talent, management should also make the smart choice to break down gender biases with the primary goal of helping women achieve more, crush societal gender norms and make the world a little better. for everyone.

Paz Malubay is the practice leader for the Business Process Solutions/Outsourcing division of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the Philippines’ leading audit, tax, advisory and outsourcing firms, with 24 partners and more than 1,000 associates. We would love to hear from you! Tweet us at @GrantThorntonPH, like us on Facebook at P&A Grant Thornton and email your feedback to [email protected] For more information, visit our website at www.grantthornton.com.ph.

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