Gender has diversified itself. People are becoming more aware than ever regarding different sexual orientations that exist today. Nowadays, people from the LGBTQIA+ community can find safe-space to express their gender and feelings. Other than that, women-rights movements have stimulated changes for the freedom and empowerment of women at every social level; allowing them to achieve things that could hardly be imagined before.
Despite recent advances, people are still being targeted, harassed, and fired due to gender discrimination. The reason behind this is because there is a belief system revolving around the stereotype that women are the lesser gender and people from the LGBTQIA+ should not be accepted. Society believes that it can control how women and men should behave, what they should and should not do, and who they should be in romantic relationships with. Thousands of people from diverse gender workforce are subjected to hostility and harassment at their workplace because of homophobia and discomfort with the individuals.
What needs to be done?
If we want to change the image of the male-dominated corporate industries, if we want to be combative and capture the global market, then we need to actively go out to the untapped reservoirs of talented people from all sexualities and genders without judgment rather than wait for them to come to us.
Getting more diverse and providing equal opportunities to all genders in the workforce requires a culture shift towards a work environment in which people, regardless of their gender, do not have to work twice as hard to get the same opportunities. At the end of the day, such work environment is good for all: employees and the business.
Having a diverse team means that they should be provided equal ease of access to resources and opportunities including financial participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing diverse behaviors hopes and needs justly, regardless of gender. Research shows that a diverse team can solve problems faster as compared to a team of similar people and teams where men and women are treated equally earn 41% more (https://builtin.com/diversity-inclusion/diversity-in-the-workplace-statistics) . Inclusive workplaces are 6 times more likely to be innovative and 3 times as likely to be high performing.
Are we aware ?
One in ten Black Asian and Minority Ethnic LGBTQIA+ employees in the UK have been physically attacked at work in the last year. This is a disturbing statistic and it proves that equality, diversity and inclusion does not only mean hiring diverse staff, but also creating an inclusive and safe working culture, which celebrates differences and allows employees to be their authentic selves.
Sexual minorities who are not predominantly heterosexual or conform to the gender norms are often sidelined and stigmatized. Some are even faced with prejudice and criminalization. This in turn affects their mental health and well-being, destroying their confidence and concealing their talent.
Having a diverse board might make the employees feel connected to an organization. Providing equal opportunities to all does not only mean bridging the wage gap but to solve the minute problems and issues at the grassroot levels.
Bridging the Gap
Today, a growing number of forward-looking are recognizing the missed opportunities resulting from low representation of different genders in the manufacturing sector, especially on factory floors and in supply chain, distribution, marketing, and sales functions. Many companies are therefore making efforts to correct this imbalance.
Many companies are therefore making attempts to correct this unevenness. Companies are managing this through equal opportunity recruitment practices. These practices enable recruiters and hiring managers to limit judgment and bias and ensure equal opportunity at every stage of the recruitment process, from developing job descriptions and advertisements to shortlisting and interviewing candidates. While developing job descriptions, equal opportunity employers focus on the skills required for a job and avoid referring to characteristics, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, marital status, maternity, and other identity labels, that directly or indirectly apply to a specific person. Equal opportunity employers instead focus on job requirements and scrutinize jobs in terms of their tasks, motives, and responsibilities, as well as the capabilities, equipment and tools, education, and experience required for a particular job. A diverse interview panel, especially in terms of gender, is appointed to meet the applicants and only assess them on talent and avoid asking unnecessary questions like those related to pregnancy, marriage and children. The same practice and safeguarding rules are then carried out every single day at the operations of the organization.
While it is important to recruit more minority participants, it is also important to address the barriers preventing minorities from participating and being open to express. Simply hiring diverse groups of people isn’t enough: to get the benefits of diversity, companies need to train to continuously improve their ethical leadership and social environment for their employees and encourage open communication for all!
By Fareeha Usman
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