Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a global event that is dedicated to honouring the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women everywhere, as well as raising awareness of gender inequality.
This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter, this acknowledges that equality, both socially and economically is essential for countries to thrive and aims to promote gender balance within government, media coverage, business, the boardroom and wealth.
By now most employers should hopefully understand that it is unlawful to pay women less than men working in the same position, and if they insist on doing so they could face rightful backlash. However, there are still many instances in which women can be unfairly paid less or treated different within their workplace. It is important, no matter the nature of your business, that you ensure equality is balanced across all aspects of your workforce.
Those who want to address a gender imbalance should take a look at their working environment and consider if it is welcoming and inclusive. Employers should work to ensure they are creating a supportive workplace culture that is free from toxic masculinity and actively discourages offensive workplace banter. Potential employees are looking for workplaces that are representing a more positive company culture and ensuring that women are being made to feel like they belong is essential to attracting new talent.
Creating a gender balance is about more than making sure there are the exact same rules for men and women, it is about ensuring women are not disadvantaged in the workplace. This means employers should not shy away from issues such as providing extra support to working mothers by considering enhanced maternity leave and being as reasonable as possible with flexible working requests.
In an industry such as hospitality, gender equality should be even more at the forefront. When dealing with drunk patrons anything can happen or be taken out of context. It is essential that clear guidelines are addressed to your staff about harassment and assault, and to understand what is and is not tolerated. You want your customers to feel safe, but you also want your staff to feel safe in the environment they spend every day in.