Advancing Women in the Global Workplace

As the world celebrates Women’s Month, critical conversations around women in the workplace can shed light on how the workforce can achieve gender equity and boost working women.

This month is Women’s Month, with 8 March designated as International Women’s Day, where global conversations occur around women, representation, and success. While such conversations are important to have year-round, a month designated to answering critical questions on women in the workplace can shed light on how much progress has been made for women and what needs to be done to boost working women.

Realities for Women in the Workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic upended the way we live and work and has at times been detrimental to jobs around the world. The increase in the production and distribution of effective COVID vaccines is a positive step toward getting the world back to a semblance of normalcy, and jump starting the international movement of workers. However, women workers faced devastating job loss due to COVID – in January, 80% of the 346,000 workers who disappeared from the U.S. workforce were women. Going even further, the unemployment rate for Black women over age 20, who face additional barriers, rose to 8.5%.

Even before the pandemic, gender parity has been an issue in the workplace. According to Census Bureau data from 2018, women of all races earned on average 82 cents for every $1 earned by men of all races. Compounded by the COVID-19 crisis, gender parity is slipping even further. How else has the pandemic affected women? According to a report from LinkedIn, women are asking for more flexibility in the workplace, with 80.1% of women saying they felt comfortable asking for flexibility on work location (remote vs. on-premise), compared to 72.6% pre-pandemic. However, they’re less comfortable asking for a raise or promotion (58%) compared to men (74%).

Reaching Gender Parity in the Workplace

According to another report, almost half (48%) of surveyed women are less likely to want to return to the physical workplace fulltime, while women who work remotely at least part-time are 27% less likely to have received a promotion in the past year compared to their male counterparts. Such realities are often taken into consideration as part of an overall diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategy. But to actually reach equity and inclusion goals, the report suggests that organizations must do three key things: work toward the retention of talented women, offer more opportunities for remote roles, and mitigate promotion and compensation bias.

Key to the success of such initiatives are employers and HR professionals who can be intentional in increasing the retention of skilled women in the workplace while developing equitable pay and promotion policies that prioritize gender parity. As the world continues to work remotely, understanding the unique position of women is crucial, especially as more women feel comfortable asking for flexibility. Doing so can solidify women’s standing not just through the pandemic, but beyond it as well. While the COVID crisis is far from over, there is light at the end of the tunnel for both the overall workforce, and for taking actionable steps to boost women in the workplace.

Want to Learn More?

Check out our newly revamped Global Mobility Specialist designation, which now includes the Talent Management portion to give you the GMS-T. There’s more content, including courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as duty of care and assignment lifestyle best practices. The program will be available later this month, so get started and sign up now!

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