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Lady at Work: Why Equality in the Workplace Is Bigger Than Wages

The gender pay gap is one of the most discussed workplace inequities of our time, appearing everywhere from The New York Times to Harvard Business Review to Forbes. However gender-inclusive organizations don’t just begin at equal wages, inclusivity needs to be built into the core of any organization’s DNA. It’s about instilling equity into the workplace, enacting larger policies that seek to even the playing field between men and women in the office. There’s no denying that because of preconceived notions about gender and gender roles that men and women will inherently, because of lack of awareness and mindfulness, be held to different standards at work. 

So what are we doing at inFeedo to amend this pressing issue?

We’re focusing on not just equality, but equity. Equity is when we roll out a work from home policy for women during their menstrual cycle and the men of the organization understand why they don’t receive extra work from home. 

I believe that inFeedo is an inclusive workplace that doesn't differentiate on the basis of gender, race, religion and most of our data supports that. We’re proud to say we offer 100% equal pay between men & women, and our firm is 41% female.  For a tech firm that’s far above the average demographic distribution. However we like to constantly challenge our status quo to improve on the way we work and make sure we stick to our founding vision to make the voice of every employee feel heard and valued. So, we asked all our team members 4 questions around equal pay, equal opportunities, equal weightage in decision making and equal respect and what came out of it was quite interesting.

While most men at inFeedo were comfortable with all 4 questions, women had a different perspective. While it was clear that equal pay and equal opportunities were evenly distributed, what happens once these opportunities are given makes all the difference. 30% of women felt that they didn't receive the same amount of respect for their work as men, and 28% felt that their perspective in decision making wasn't given equal weightage as men. I was surprised, to say the least. How could any of our female employees in such a kind and supportive environment replete with equitable policies feel this way? I have never witnessed visible discrimination and never had an incident of sexual harassment make it to my desk. After brainstorming I came to realize that it was not overt incidents of sexism, but 5 Gender Biases that we experience in the workplace. Let’s take a deep dive.

 

 

#1 Conversation Hygiene: Let your female colleagues speak!

One large issue we see in workplace settings is a lack of respect for women’s opinions or stances. It’s prevalent, and I have seen it firsthand. The prevalence of men monopolizing conversations is way too high, and we need to work to amend that.

How you can help: It’s non-negotiable that you let your female colleagues finish their points. Also, encouraging your peers to let your female colleagues finish their points, and asking your female colleagues for her ideas and opinions are good ways to ensure women’s voices are heard. 

 

#2 Meeting Hygiene: There’s more than men in the room.

Sometimes people direct their line of conversation to the men in the room, as if they’re the shot callers or have final say. That is not the case, especially not at inFeedo! 

How you can help: Speak to everyone involved in the meeting room, without consciously or subconsciously isolating the female colleagues.  

 

#3 Hiring: Be conscious of your biases.

Be open about a man or a woman joining you for the role. Don't limit it to only males. Gender disparity, particularly in technology, is a real issue. The deeper root of the issue lies in the pressure put on young women to pursue non-STEM roles, but we can do what we can to help break the cycle.

How you can help: Cover the names on resumes and read them gender blind. Ensure people of all genders are represented in the hiring process. Make sure your final shortlist isn’t only men.

 

#4 Challenging Roles: Give women the opportunity to prove themselves.

Most administrative and clerical roles are traditionally done by women while more challenging roles are generally taken up by men. We see discrepancies in gender between departments like Tech and HR, for example.

How you can help: Push the women in your organization to be more assertive. Give them opportunities to try new roles. Run leadership training sessions to help women develop the skills they need to take bigger roles.

 

#5 Compliments: Cut the sexism.

Merit-based compliments at work trump everything else. They validate our efforts and make us feel appreciated, and as our research has shown supportive colleagues are one of the most pivotal factors in employee motivation. Most of the time, men are acknowledged for their passion and hard work while women are called out for being pretty and well dressed. Make those comments merit based.

How you can help: Be conscious of what you say. You may think it’s a compliment, but in reality it can be belittling and invalidating. And if you see someone else making inappropriate comments be an ally. Intervene, or raise it to your leadership. 

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So what about inFeedo?

At inFeedo, we’re not perfect. Yes, we’ve instituted some of the most progressive policies from organizations that lead the pack in gender equality. We’ve adamantly stuck to fair hiring and compensation policies. We’ve fostered a safe environment for women to work in. And yet, biases remain, biases we will continue to combat with talkback sessions for women, more sensitivity training, leadership training initiatives, and more. We’re not all the way there when it comes to equality, but we’re proud that we recognize our few shortcomings and are working to solve them every day. Because that’s who we are.

 


Sameera Khan
Sameera Khan
People Success Lead at inFeedo

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