A lot has changed since the 1970s when women had to participate in several strikes to improve their pay conditions and resist discrimination at work. 

Many women are C-level executives, managers, and team leaders today, and work conditions for women have seen considerable improvement— a notion that was practically inconceivable merely four decades ago. 

Still, there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of creating healthy workplace dynamics for women, starting from the hiring phase—and this is what will be discussed in this article.

Hiring women in the workplace

In this Gender Insights Report, it was stated that although the average number of jobs viewed by men and women was roughly the same (44 for women and 46 for men), women were less likely (by 16%) to apply for a job after viewing it.

Why? You may be wondering.

Well, evidence has demonstrated that men generally overestimate their abilities and performance while women underestimate both. Usually called the “confidence gap,” women effectively screen themselves out of the candidate pool before applying. While men typically apply if they meet just 60% of the requirements, women, on the other hand, only apply if they meet all the job’s criteria.

This automatically reduces the number of women a company can hire compared to men.

What can organizations looking to hire more women do about this?

First things first, organizations have to go out of their way to ensure a fair chance for both women and men in their recruitment process and job descriptions.

Here are a few ways to go about this:

  • Highlight stories of successful women in your organization across all levels.
  • Make your job postings more inclusive. Include a line like this: “We’re an equal opportunity employer. Females are highly encouraged to apply.”
  • Be more accommodating in qualifications list. Make your “nice-to-have” list longer than your “must-have” list. Majority of women apply only when they fully meet the qualification requirement compared to men who would apply even if they meet half the criteria. 
  • Mention your women-centric benefits upfront in the job post. E.g. maternity leave, flexible working hours, daycare facility. This will send a message to women that your company cares about women and gender diversity.

Retaining female talent

While the workplace requirements for women essentially come down to individual differences and preferences, a couple of boxes must be ticked before most women would consider working in an organization. 

Two of those boxes are:

 

     1. Flexibility

Many women avoid working in organizations with stringent rules; they want a flexible workplace that emphasizes the willingness and ability to adapt to change, mainly how and when work gets done.

In flexible workplaces, the needs of both (female) employees and employers are met.

Some examples of workplace flexibility include:

  • Providing release time for mothers to attend school programs.
  • Offering additional time off.
  • Provisioning maternity allowances.
  • Analyzing the style and preferences of (female) employees.
  • Praising the work of productive (female) employees and providing feedback.

 

     2. Equal opportunities for raises, promotions and development

Women are more likely to be passed up for opportunities due to issues like mansplaining, boy clubs, or simply a disregard for their skills, leaving them battling imposter syndrome since they can almost never speak up—as the few who voice their complaints get stamped with negative labels.

So if your workplace struggles to retain female talents, you may be seeing a manifestation of terrible practices aimed at women.

As a manager, HR professional, or CEO, you must ensure that your organization is a paragon of meritocracy where everyone is paid, listened to, and promoted based on their abilities.

Correct dismissive behaviors from their male counterparts by going to bat for female staff who are quiet during meetings or might not be included as much. You have nothing to lose anyway. A great technique is to circle back to women who have been interrupted, for example, and say, “Sorry [name], I think [interrupter] spoke over you. I’d love to hear more of what you were saying.”

Women make up approximately half of the world’s population, yet gender parity and equal pay are still issues that need a lot of work from the corporate world. Companies need to make constant effort to create a culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplaces.