14 Characteristics Of A Gender-Equal Business Culture

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Gender equality is an important issue, and many businesses are making efforts to prevent discrimination. However, to do so, you’ll need more than a written policy.

As an employer, you should expect all team members to commit to and practice a work ethic free of biases. We asked a panel of Forbes Coaches Council members how business owners can truly promote a culture of gender equality in their organization. Their answers are below.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss how to create a gender-equal culture in your business.PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Salary And Bonus Transparency

Today you must operate your business without a lot of secrets—preferably with no secrets when it comes to compensation, even if you are a small, private company. There are so many areas to consider regarding gender equality at work, but let’s not forget the so-called bottom line. Compensating fairly does more than just parrot popular phraseology; it puts your money where your mouth should be. – John M. O’ConnorCareer Pro Inc.

2. Diverse Mentoring Programs

While many organizations have created groups geared toward specific communities of employees, another important way to build a culture of equality, gender and otherwise, is to diversify mentoring programs to ensure that senior leadership is meaningfully engaged in promoting the advancement of women and other historically marginalized populations within the company. Actions speak louder than words! – Tonya EcholsVigere 

3. Addressing Equality Issues Head On

When there are any issues arising in this way, there is no substitute for addressing them head on and making it clear what is rewarded and what is not. Everything happens by agreement, and when issues are “ignored,” there is an unconscious agreement for them to continue. Leaders simply can’t overlook this if they are committed to having a culture of equality. – Daphne ScottDS Leadership Life

4. Working To Shift Mindsets

We’ve learned much about the brain and adult development over the last 40 years. We know as adults shift to higher levels of consciousness they become more inclusive and are able to handle complexity with more finesse. It requires shifts in mindset, beliefs and assumptions. It is deep work. It is not taught in college. We can’t change culture without shifting mindsets. – Renelle DarrInSight Coaching & Consulting

5. A Visible Commitment To Equality

If you want a culture of gender equality, then people need to see it in tangible ways. For example, have someone keep track of who does the talking in meetings. You may be surprised at how imbalanced this “time of possession” statistic can be along gender lines. Other areas are a little scarier—like being transparent about salary levels—but visible evidence of your commitment is critical. – Jamie NotterHuman Workplaces

6. Alignment Between Promises And Actions

Promoting a culture of gender equality and actually living it can be two different things. Both are necessary, but it’s the latter that really matters. Companies must hold themselves accountable for having more women in positions of power and authority. When enough women have a voice at the decision-making table, it impacts the actual decisions made and ensures that all perspectives are represented. – Cari Haught CoatsAccendo Leadership Advisory Group

7. Promotion Strategies For Women

Not only is the inequality of pay an issue, but the promotion structure for women in many organizations is not as robust as that of their male counterparts. If leaders are to embrace a culture of gender equality, then they must also embrace fair and equal promotion strategies. Taking action to fairly promote women in the workplace will set a precedent in the organization and change the culture. – Erin UrbanUPPSolutions, LLC

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