If you believe that inequality of rights and representation of women and men at work will not decrease soon, you will appreciate InHerSight. Launched in 2015, the site is the first meter of sexism at work, in large companies. With a test, professionals from countries such as USA, UK, Australia and Canada can rate their workplace and say if they suffer gender discrimination. Therefore, the demand for women to have a successful career – by developing their skills, reaching higher positions and harmonizing all that with family life – gained a new ally.
The purpose of InHerSight is to make visible the problem that affects women worldwide. The data collected is public and informs women who will start in a new company. Above all, the project enhances the debate on corporate responsibility in improving their policies to end sexist and discriminatory practices. Ursula Mead, the creator of InHerSight, is mother and works full-time in the financial technology sector. In a report of the newspaper El País, she says she tries to reflect how women feel when those policies are implemented. “If a company offers X weeks of maternity leave but mothers find themselves pressured to be out for less time, we have a problem”.
1. Statistics against sexism at work
According to a survey led by the World Economic Forum (WEF), only in the year 2095 gender equality at work will be reached worldwide. Besides that, Huffing Post has gathered some statistics, such as:
• Women make up only 21 of the S&P 500’s CEOs – that’s just 4 percent.
• Despite big gains, women only make up slightly more than 10 percent of big company chief financial officers. And more than one-third of public companies had zero women senior officers, according to a recent survey from Catalyst, an organization aimed at expanding business opportunities for women.
• Women get paid 77 cents on the dollar for every dollar a man makes, according to a recent study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That’s a difference of more than $10,000 per year on average.
• That wage gap starts early in a woman’s career. Among recent college graduates, women make 82 percent of what men make, according to a report from the IWPR. In their first year of work after graduating college, men make $7,600 more than women on average, according to a fact sheet from Congress’ joint economic committee.
• The trend continues even as women rise up the corporate ladder. Female workers made up just 6.2 percent of the top earning positions in 2010, according to a report from Catalyst.
• Making matters worse, almost half of all workers are prohibited or strongly discouraged from discussing pay information, according to an IWPR report. That means women workers can’t find out if their male colleagues are earning more than they are.
• In addition to making less money than men in comparable jobs, women are also more likely to end up doing low-paying work. Sixty percent of minimum wage workers are women. And nearly two-thirds of part-time workers are women, according to the joint economic committee report, and part-time workers earn less per hour than their full-time counterparts.
• Women face a variety of unconscious stereotypes in the workplace that hold them back, like: They don’t need more money because they’re not the primary breadwinners, they can’t do certain jobs that are considered “men’s work,” their supposed to act a certain type of feminine in the workplace, they’re not committed to their jobs because their the primary caregivers to their kids. In addition, office cultures are often dominated by norms better suited to men.
• Women also face more safety risks at work than men. Of the 11,717 sexual harassment charges brought in 2010, 83 percent came from women, according to AOL Jobs.
2. The Google Case
Google is one of the companies, according to the InHerSight of users, that better treat women, with average grade 4.8 of 5 in initiatives that promote the well-being of women, 4.7 in conditions to be mother, 4.1 in satisfaction with wage and 3.9 on equal opportunities for men and women. Its weakness is representation of women in high positions, with rate 2.9. With 3.5 in opportunities for women in management roles, Google began to evolve in this respect since it tried to understand why women were not reaching higher positions and therefore higher wages. After all, when there are promotions available, anyone can apply for it. However, the problem was precisely that voluntary system, says Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of People Management.
Then, Bock took note of two studies on gender inequality in schools and companies. Although they have a higher rate of precision and great ideas, girls do not raise their hands as much as the boys to answer math problems, as well as women do not offer their ideas as much as men in business meetings. Then, in an experiment, Alan Eustace, one of the engineering leaders, sent an email to his team, telling about both studies and reminding that it was time to apply for promotions. Immediately, the number of applications of women rose and the number of women engineers promoted was greater than men. Eustace proceeded to send the e-mail for several days, except one, and it was exactly that day when the number of women candidates decreased.
The message was clear. To demonstrate to women that their insecurity – fostered by the sexism they suffered throughout their life – barred their brilliant path, this already solved part of the problem.
3. How to claim gender equality at work
a) Find out. At your company, do women have opportunities to move up the career ladder? Are they able to reconcile motherhood and work? Are there women assuming leadership roles in top management? Know this kind of information and have a conversation with your HR managers to negotiate a plan of action for gender equality.
b) Involve. Ideally, not only you but a group of colleagues should attend the same claim. What about a talk, at lunch or after work, to clarify the inequality issue to the team? Then, all aware, gather statistics and alternatives you have seen here and in other studies available online, to increase the chances of having a provision made as soon as possible.
c) Speak up. If you suffer sexual harassment or discrimination at work, report it. It may be unpleasant to rock the boat, but it is for the good of all (including your employers) that misogyny (hatred of women) and inequality must be fought.
d) Prove your worth. If you can describe your achievements, your skills and your commitment to the future of your company, you can improve your wage and your career plan. Not to mention the inviolable right to maternity leave. So, go ahead. Only you can make that happen.
4. HeForShe, the campaign that won the world
The British actress Emma Watson makes her memorable speech as Goodwill Ambassador for the UNO, calling all men to fight sexism, which not only harms women but themselves. And she proves what she says.
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