#BreakTheBias: International Women’s Day 2022, “Reducing Gender Bias in the Workplace”

Posted: 03.08.2022
Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

This year’s theme (2022) is #BreakTheBias and we are all encouraged to cross our arms as a sign of solidarity.

(Reference: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/)

Below are some recent facts that give us insight into the work that still needs to be done in order to assist women in moving ahead:
  • Globally, the average distance completed to parity is at 68%, a step back compared to 2020 (-0.6%).
  • The gender gap in Political Empowerment remains the largest of the four gaps tracked, with only 22% closed to date, having further widened since the 2020 edition of the report by 2.4 %.
  • Regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender gaps in economic participation, early projections show:
    • The International Labour Organization (ILO) suggests 5% of employed women lost their jobs, compared to 3.9 of employed men.
    • LinkedIn’s data shows a decline of women’s hiring into leadership roles, creating a reversal of 1 to 2 years of progress across multiple industries.
    • January 2021 data from Ipsos (Global Market Research and Public Opinion Specialist) shows that a longer “double-shift” of paid and unpaid work in a context of school closures and limited availability of care services have contributed to an overall increase of stress, anxiety around job insecurity and difficulty in maintaining work-life balance among women with children.
  • Gender gaps are more likely in fields like Cloud Computing (women make up 14% of the workforce), Engineering (20%), and Data and AI (32%).
  • Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world for the 12th time, with a gender gap closed to date at 89.2%, followed by Finland at 86.1%, and Norway at 84.9%.
(Reference: Global Gender Gap Report 2021)

A report done by AllVoices, which surveyed 822 full-time workers, found that:
  • 38.8% of female respondents have experienced sexual harassment remotely.
  • 36.4% more women experienced discriminatory harassment/bias remotely than their male counterparts.
  • 55.8% of entry-level respondents were more likely to experience physical harassment and discrimination.
  • 38% of workers over the age of 45 experienced psychological harassment more.
(Reference: CNBC – make it)

So, what does gender bias look like in the workplace?
  • Performance support – this happens when an employer provides more resources and opportunities towards one gender over another.
  • Performance reviews – when an employer reviews one gender differently over another.
  • Performance rewards – one gender is given an award (like a promotion) than another.
  • Bias in job descriptions – for example using words like strong, decisive, direct can attract more male employees than females.
  • Bias during interviews – for example, hiring managers are more likely to ask female candidates about parental plans and responsibilities.
  • Sexual harassment – this can occur with both men and women, however, more claims are filed by women
  • Studies show that men interrupt more when they speak with women, compared to men.
What can we do about it?
Although there is still a long way to go, there are some things employees and organizations can start (or continuing do) to help with gender bias in the workplace:
  • Collect data – for example, employers can conduct regular pay audits within their organization to review how men and women are paid differently.
  • Automation – to help with gender bias in the recruitment process, companies can invest in automation programs to help with hiring, eliminating bias between men and women.
  • Gender-bias training – implement un-conscious bias training at your company to help employees recognize their actions.
  • Inclusive project teams – this not only includes ensuring men and women are involved, but also people from different educational backgrounds, racial backgrounds, even those who are new to the workforce can help provide a different perspective.
  • Inclusive office space – sometimes workplaces that have typically been more dominated by men, won’t even have a bathroom for women.
(Reference: Built In)

What are you doing as a company to reduce gender bias in the workplace? Email us at info@torontojobs.ca to let us know!

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