While 52% of men believe that workplaces are equal and that women have just as many opportunities as them, the stark reality painted by statistics tells a different story.
In 2022, according to Statistics Canada, women earned, on average, only 84% of what their male counterparts did.
According to the 18th Annual Rosenzweig Report, out of the 523 Named Executive Officers (NEOs) at Canada's largest publicly-traded companies, only 57 are women.
This represents a historic high of 10.9% of women in high-ranking corporate positions in Canada, while men continue to dominate with 89.1% holding such positions.
This accounts for 25% of the total, indicating that the trajectory for female executives is showing signs of gaining momentum.
Despite these disheartening figures, it's crucial to acknowledge the undeniable existence of the gender gap in the workplace. However, rather than dwelling on the problem, we should focus on finding solutions.
The real question we must address is: What can we do about it? Fortunately, we can take many actions to combat gender inequality, and these efforts are not limited to one gender alone.
Closing the gender gap in the workplace is essential for fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Here are five actionable steps that every company, regardless of its size or industry, can implement to work towards closing the gender gap.
1. aim for 50/50 representation when hiring
Women make up just over half of the Canadian population, yet continue to be underrepresented in political and professional leadership positions.
It's time to bridge this gap and move towards true gender equity.
To achieve this goal, start by reviewing and updating company policies to ensure they are gender-neutral and promote equal opportunities for all employees.
Additionally, aim for 50/50 representation when hiring, as women are equally capable and deserving of leadership roles.
Implement inclusive hiring practices, such as blind recruitment and diverse interview panels, to reduce bias in the hiring process.
Doing so creates clear pathways for career advancement and mentorship opportunities for women within the organization.
By taking these steps, we can make 'first woman to...' announcements a thing of the past and pave the way for a workplace where men and women have representation that reflects their numbers in society.
Let's prioritize hiring women at all experience levels and unlock the immense talent and potential they bring to every profession.
white paper: how to build inclusive workplaces for women?
access our white paper on fostering workplace inclusivity and promoting equity within your organization.download the white paper
2. be transparent about pay
It is crucial to advocate for organizations to embrace transparency in their pay practices, which includes the disclosure of salary ranges for various positions.
This wage transparency should extend to ensuring that both men and women receive equitable compensation for performing identical roles or jobs of equal value.
When salary information is shrouded in secrecy, women often bear the brunt of the consequences.
In Canada, the average woman earns only 89 cents for every dollar a man earns. This cycle of inequality persists when pay remains undisclosed.
Frequently, women need to be made aware that they are receiving lower compensation than their male counterparts.
Consequently, when the time comes to request a raise, achieving pay parity is still being considered.
Additionally, many companies are reluctant to divulge this information, fearing potential cost increases.
Even when women are aware of significant pay disparities, they encounter challenges in speaking up and negotiating for fair compensation.
While men are commended for their assertiveness in negotiating salary, women may be apprehensive about being labelled as demanding, difficult, or overly focused on money.
Transparency has proven to be an effective strategy for narrowing the salary gap. Research shows that in companies with salary transparency policies, women earn 90% of what their male counterparts do.
While this isn't a perfect solution, it represents a substantial improvement over the current average wage gap.
make a difference by paying the appropriate salary rates
Want to know more about salary ranges or discover what drives talent away?get the salary guide
3. invest in the future of female leadership
Women, given the chance, are equally dedicated workers; they require believers and mentors.
Initiate this process early, as young women entering the workforce encounter the narrowest wage gap and hold the most optimism about their leadership potential.
Early investment and skill development for women starting out fosters long-term equality and success.
When equipped with early skills, women carry their achievements throughout their careers and serve as role models for those who follow.
Champion educational and training opportunities for women to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
If you're an employer in the STEM field looking to enhance your efforts in recruiting and retaining more women in STEM, take a look at our article.
4. make diversity a part of your core values
Integrate diversity deep into your core company values. Regularly highlight these values to normalize them.
Aim for diversity to become a natural part of our daily operations, aspiring to a day when its importance is self-evident without discussion.
Diversity also benefits businesses, attracting talent from Millenials and Gen Z, who prioritize socially responsible organizations.
Advocate for diversity in leadership, encouraging its promotion at all levels, including within boards of directors and executive teams.
white paper: how to create a more inclusive workplace?
get our white paper on how to promote equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in your organization.download the white paper
5. provide networking opportunities
Who you know is essential for career progression. You might be perfect for a leadership job, but if you don’t have the right connections, your progress can grind to a halt.
Harvard Business Review has identified a significant obstacle to women's career progression: limited access to informal networks.
Women are less likely to have an extensive network to draw on for support when climbing the corporate ladder.
Women are also less likely to have relationships with senior leaders in their organizations. To empower the women on your team and bolster their professional growth by introducing them to (and having them work on projects with) executive leaders and providing opportunities to expand their professional networks externally via conferences, networking events or online communities.