A Case for Gender Equality & Inclusion

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Author- Audrey Yvonne Muttimos

Nairobi, Kenya

Women Rights is a Human Right

The UN General Assembly recognized that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, birth or other status. And so therefore, for a society to achieve equality between women and men it must realize that the human rights, dignity and capabilities of diverse groups of women is a central requirement of a just and sustainable world.

Gender equality & the Economic Outlook

Organizations that embrace gender parity have in place checks and balances for an equitable distribution of positions of influence and power; equal and easily accessible opportunities for learning and development, and a practical Human Resource Management (HRM) model that governs the implementation of solutions for issues evolving from the inequality between men and women. Moreover, in countries such as Japan whose population is aging, an increase in female labor force participation can help partially offset the decline in labor supply caused by a shrinking share of the working-age population.

Increased Organizational Performance

Evidence has shown that increasing women’s participation in the workforce has positive impacts on organizational culture and on operations. An inclusive and diverse workforce has a greater potential of generating tangible benefits, including increased efficiency, productivity, innovation, creativity and improved employee engagement, regardless of its size and industry. A study conducted by McKinsey & Company, 2018 stablished that organizations in the top tier for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability, while those with a lower representation of women and/or other diverse groups have a 29% likelihood of underperformance on their profitability. The study also revealed that executive teams that were high-performing had more women in revenuegenerating roles, which is significant as women are generally underrepresented in line roles.

Enriched Organizational Reputation

Organizations with gender equality policies and strategies such as a family friendly workplace environment and proper guidelines on addressing gender-based harassment, are prone to reduce and/or eliminate the risk of workplace discrimination cases which can potentially be damaging for the organization’s reputation. Companies that advocate for gender equality are viewed as a baseline feature of leading organizations.

Enhanced Ability of Companies to Attract and Retain Talent

Workplaces that offer gender equality policies and practices are equally appealing to women and men, and thus enjoy access to a larger talent pool. Evidently employees value a positive workplace environment that embraces a culture of flexibility and that supports employees with family responsibilities. Flexible working conditions is a critical factor in attracting and retaining top talent in an organization (Russell, G. & O’Leary, J., 2012). In their research, Russell, G. & O’Leary found that a positive association between flexibility and commitment to work ranked as the top five drivers for employment among the young, senior, and for employees with family responsibilities.

Attraction to Foreign Investors

Gender Equality in the workplace will play a fundamental role in attracting impact investors in an organization and/or a society. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its Investment Promotion Agencies Observer report, November 2020 issue, IPAs in both developed and developing states are increasingly incorporating gender equality and women empowerment into their work. Additional to local governments and IPAs, multinational enterprises (MNEs) are also defining objectives on gender equality in line with the 5 Sustainable Development (SDG) goals of the 2030 Agenda. This has generated a demand as well as an opportunity for IPAs to support them in this area. IPAs are working on two main focus areas; (a) to facilitate for a greater impact of the operations of foreign firms in the host countries, on gender equality initiatives; and (b) to empower women and promote gender equality within the IPAs. Furthermore, IPAs are promoting gender-inclusive connections between MNEs and the local economies, by identifying opportunities where investment projects can have a positive impact on gender equality and facilitating access to capacity-building and supplier development programmes for women.

 Audrey can be reached here https://www.linkedin.com/in/audreymuttimos/