If companies don't make women a priority, the gender gap could persist for the next 50 years, according to IBM.
As International Women's Day approaches, organizations should take note of how they foster gender equality in the workplace. The majority of executives, however, do not: 79% of business professionals said they do not formally prioritize a culture of gender equality in leadership, according to an IBM study released Thursday.
The report surveyed 2,300 business executives—an equal number of women and men—to see how organizations handled the long battle of gender inequality in the workplace. While studies have highlighted the benefits of having more women in management positions, the inequity persists.
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Regardless of how widespread and real the problem is, 65% of male executives underestimate its magnitude. The men claimed all genders have an equal likelihood of being promoted to a top leadership role, the report found. Few organizations have even formulated a discernible plan to fix the inequality, applying more of a laissez-faire approach to diversity and inclusion, the report added.
"The past year has heightened the world's focus on diversity, and the business benefits of inclusive teams are now well-documented," said Michelle Peluso, senior vice president of digital sales and CMO at IBM, in a press release. "The opportunity now is to move from inclusion being interesting to being imperative - just like we treat other top business priorities."
The report identified the following three steps to help companies foster gender equality in their work environments:
1. Make gender equality in leadership a business priority: Integrate gender equality into business goals, allocating KPI, budget, and resources to the topic, the report said.
2. Create a culture of inclusion: Whether it be through creating a more flexible workspace or forming mentorship programs, companies must make all employees feel welcome.
3. Establish leadership accountability for gender equality results: Organizations should call senior executives to action and directly place the responsibility on the people that have the power to bring women into leadership positions.
For more advice on how to boost gender equality in the workplace, check out this TechRepublic article.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- 79% of organizations worldwide do not prioritize gender equality in the workplace. — IBM, 2019
- Businesses must make gender equality a business priority, create a culture of inclusion, and establish leadership accountability to advance women. — IBM, 2019
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