There is a lot of exposure and attention given to the concept of gender equality in the 21st century than at any other time period since the inception of the world. The Television, Radio, Blogs, Print Media, and every other medium of communication has amplified the conversations surrounding the place of a woman, and how her gender is not weaker or lesser to that of a man.
However, in spite of these, you will think some people live under the rock, as they continue to subject women to unfair and inhumane treatments. Even some of those who seem to be at the fore-front of these conversations, male and female alike, only enjoy talking about them, but conveniently act differently when it’s time to practice what they preach.
Business people have a huge responsibility to society. For one, they hire the working population, which is a significant ratio from the world population. The values in a person’s work place, goes a long way in forming their attitudes, perception, and behaviour even outside the work place. Thus, as a business owner, some of the ideas listed and explained below will help propagate gender equality, and the right mindset.
- Recruiting and Hiring – The process to which your company recruits or hires new staff goes a long way in representing your stand with regards to gender equality. First, how do you advertise for the role, is it in places where both male and female qualified candidates can see it? Also, what conditions do you give before hiring? Some companies will not hire ladies who are either about to marry or just married to avoid maternity leave etc. The phases that a woman goes through in life are not supposed to restrict her growth, because they are necessary aspects of societal growth.
- Equal Opportunities – Some businesses are set up to favour male domination. You only need to check the boards of many companies to see that women do not have enough seats at the table. Even at lower levels of operation, where a woman and a man perform at the same levels, more responsibilities are given to men, thus positioning them for leadership roles, while women are made to assist. People who walk into organisations subconsciously expect women to be help desk or support staff. If you don’t believe, just think back to the last time someone asked you to submit something to the secretary, you probably expected to see a woman. Business owners can help change and shape a new narrative by giving women the chance they need to grow.
- Sexual Harassment Policy – Your business should take on the responsibility of ensuring that sexual harassment is seen as a criminal offence punishable by expelling offenders, and reporting them to law enforcement. This will ensure that staff members respect each other’s space, and treat the opposite sex with curtsy. Many employees harass others in the work place in the name of joking or playing. As the boss/business owner, you should not tolerate this. You should also not make acceptance of sexual favours a criteria for hiring. This is bullying, and rather unfair. Promotion and recruitment at work should be based on competence.
It will not happen overnight, but if we all consciously play our parts, particularly those of you in authority, we can bridge this gap between genders.
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