This is a preview. To continue reading, register for free access now. Register now or Log in

Advancing gender equality in the workplace

Author: Shelagh Prosser


  • The opportunity for an individual to reach their full potential in the workplace should not be defined by their gender. (See What is gender equality?)
  • Evidence demonstrates that the experiences of men and women in the workplace are often not equitable, particularly in respect of their progression and pay. (See The disparity between men and women at work)
  • The breadth of experiences and perspectives that gender diversity brings to the workplace helps improve creativity, innovation, problem-solving, decision-making, employee morale and retention. (See The importance of gender diversity)
  • The main barriers to gender equality in the workplace are gender bias (unconscious and conscious), a lack of flexible working, the gender pay gap, gendered occupational segregation, gender-based harassment, a lack of affordable childcare and an unequal distribution of caring responsibilities. (See Barriers to gender equality, diversity and inclusion)
  • Monitoring employment practices by gender enables employers to identify trends and potential barriers to equality, diversity and inclusion and provides an informed basis for action. (See Monitoring)
  • Employers should regularly review their policies and procedures to ensure that they are free from gender bias and take action to remove or mitigate any adverse impact. (See Policies and procedures)
  • Employers should review requirements regarding dress and appearance to ensure that these do not unfairly discriminate on the grounds of gender. (See Dress codes)
  • Senior managers shape the culture and behavioural norms of an organisation and they must be seen authentically to champion gender equality and diversity if there is to be real change. (See Leadership)
  • Action to support employees with caring responsibilities will help retain talent and improve wellbeing. (See Supporting carers)
  • Employers have an important role to play in supporting employees who may be experiencing domestic violence and abuse. (See Supporting employees experiencing domestic violence and abuse)
  • Employers should take steps to improve the workplace for employees experiencing menopausal symptoms. (See Supporting employees who are experiencing menopausal symptoms)
  • Screening job descriptions and person specifications for bias, using gender-neutral language, diversifying recruitment methods and instructing recruitment agencies to provide a gender-diverse pool of suitable candidates are some of the actions employers can take to make recruitment procedures more inclusive. (See Recruitment and selection)
  • Taking steps to ensure that employment decisions are made transparently and objectively, can help to minimise conscious and unconscious gender bias and discrimination. (See Addressing gender bias and discrimination.)
  • Employers should monitor the gender profile of their workforce in respect of the employment lifecycle and take action to address under-representation. (See Addressing occupational segregation, Gender diversity on boards, Talent management, Mentoring and coaching and Monitoring)
  • Supporting a women's employee network can help the employer gain a better understanding of the barriers to gender equality that exist within their organisation. (See Networks)
  • External campaigns focused on workplace gender equality, diversity and inclusion offer a source of good practice for employers and a way of benchmarking progress. (See Gender-diversity campaigns)