The Gender Pay Gap is a persistent issue that has been a topic of discussion for many years. Despite progress being made in recent years, the gap remains significant, with women earning on average 89 cents to a man’s dollar in Canada as of 2021.
Closing this gap is not only a matter of fairness, but it is also crucial for economic growth and stability. Diverse businesses that practice inclusion in all aspects of their work (including wages) perform stronger and show a greater aptitude for stability and resiliency.
In this article, we will discuss some of the steps that need to be taken to close the gender pay gap.
Increase transparency and accountability
One of the biggest obstacles to closing the gender pay gap is a lack of transparency and accountability. Many companies do not disclose their pay data, making it difficult to identify where the gap exists and who is responsible for it. Increasing transparency and accountability can be done by implementing policies that require companies to disclose their pay data and by holding them accountable for any gaps that are found.
Address unconscious bias
Another major obstacle to closing the gender pay gap is unconscious bias. Many people are not aware that they hold biases and these biases can influence decisions about pay and promotions. To address this, companies can implement training programs that help employees to recognize and overcome their biases. This can be done through workshops, webinars, or other training methods.
Promote flexible working arrangements
Flexible working arrangements can also play a role in closing the gender pay gap. Women are often the primary caregivers in families, and traditional working arrangements can make it difficult for women to balance work and family responsibilities. By promoting flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting, work-from-home options, access to sick and/or vacation time, and part-time work options, companies can make it easier for women to continue working while also managing family responsibilities.
Government policies can also play a role in closing the gender pay gap. Some governments have implemented policies that require companies to disclose their pay data, and others have introduced legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. These policies can help to create a level playing field, making it easier for women to achieve equal pay and equal opportunities within their workplaces. Advocating locally and federally for fair treatment needs to be done by individuals, corporations, and representatives at every level.
Enable women equally to pursue higher paying roles
Offering equal encouragement and opportunities for women to pursue higher paying jobs can also help to close the gender pay gap. Many women face frustration at being passed over for jobs, promotions, and other development opportunities in favour of male candidates. It’s not that women aren’t motivated to reach higher levels in their career, but rather that the pathways offered to them are often fewer in number or more difficult for them to access. Employers can make a positive impact by proactively providing support and resources to help women develop the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in these jobs, and encouraging their growth by creating fair opportunities. This can include mentoring programs, networking opportunities, and training programs. One such opportunity is possible through ReStart and the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, which offers up to $10,000 per employee to upskill new and existing staff members.
Address the pay gap in specific industries
The gender pay gap can vary greatly depending on the industry. For example, women in the finance industry are paid significantly less than men. To close the gap in specific industries, companies and organizations should conduct pay audits and implement specific strategies tailored to the industry.
Promote women to leadership positions
Women are underrepresented in leadership positions, which can contribute to the gender pay gap. By promoting more women to leadership positions, companies can help to create a more balanced and fair workplace. This can be done by implementing mentoring programs and encouraging women to apply for leadership positions.
Provide parental leave and child care support
Providing parental leave and child care support can also help to close the gender pay gap. Many women leave the workforce or take on less demanding roles after having children. By providing parental leave and child care support, companies can help to make it easier for women to continue working and advance in their careers.
Address discrimination and harassment in the workplace
Discrimination and harassment in the workplace can also contribute to the gender pay gap. By addressing these issues, companies can create a more inclusive and fair workplace, which can help to close the gap. This can be done by implementing policies and procedures to address discrimination and harassment and by promoting a culture of respect and inclusion.
Encourage collective bargaining
Encouraging collective bargaining can also help to close the gender pay gap. Collective bargaining allows employees to negotiate for better pay and working conditions. By encouraging collective bargaining, companies can help to create a more fair and equitable workplace, which can help to close the gender pay gap.
Increase representation of women in male-dominated fields
Women are underrepresented in many male-dominated fields such as STEM, finance and engineering. Increasing representation of women in these fields can lead to a reduction in the gender pay gap by promoting fair pay and equal opportunities for women.
Encourage gender diversity and inclusivity in the hiring process
Gender diversity and inclusivity in the hiring process can help to close the gender pay gap. By ensuring that women are well-represented in the hiring process and that they are given equal opportunities to advance in their careers, companies can promote fair pay and equal opportunities for women. Encouraging gender diversity and inclusivity can be done by implementing diversity recruitment initiatives and setting targets for hiring and promoting women, and recruiting through bias-free agencies such as ReStart.
Closing the gender pay gap is an important issue that requires a multifaceted approach. No one solution will fix the disparity, but by attacking the problem from these different angles, we can work to ensure that women are paid fairly and that the economy can thrive.
Are you interested in making your workplace more inclusive? ReStart can help you design and implement bias-free hiring practices, and connect you with top talent for any industry. We can also help you create pathways for professional development through funding opportunities for hiring, training, and onboarding new employees.
All of our employer and job seeker services are available to the public free of charge. You can book an appointment to get 1-on-1 support and advice for your business or career, and discover what unique opportunities there are for you. See how you can connect with us at https://restartnow.ca/contact/