By Eliana Huffman
I see London, I see France, I see gender inequality all over the darn workplace. Case in point? At one French company in particular that I’m going analyze for you for the next 500 words.
Lady boss researchers Cécile Guillaume and Sophie Pochic interviewed 60 people, of either top management positions or ranked as “top potential”, within a large French company on the issue of women’s ability to access top positions and corporate diversity in general. They combined interviews with secondary information—HR and workplace statistics provided by the company’s private database—for analysis.
In short, the researchers confirmed that the glass ceiling is very real; women who worked at the company faced a whole lot of barriers to success that men didn’t. Some of the biggest ones? Promotions later in their tenure with the company than men, little support for employees who chose to raise a family (tackling child care and family work is a role that is usually socially prescribed to women), and being considered less educated for attending liberal arts schools even if the subjects were functionally transferrable—for example, being frowned upon for having a B.A. in Public Relations even if a B.B.A. in Marketing would produce a nearly identical skillset.
Additionally, almost double the amount of women as men in the company were partnered with someone who also worked for the organization. Those women consistently held lower rankings in the organization than their spouse, and did more family work at home. So in the wise words of Billy Rae Cyrus—what to heck? This implied that the organizational climate was more favorable towards men, even plucked from a partnership where both spouses worked full-time professionally, and obviously had the same socioeconomic status.
Now let’s talk about what this means for us. What can we do to stop organizations like this one from hindering women so much? And what is the greater impact that we can have for gender equality long-term?
We can start with paid family leave policies. Paid family leave has been proven to reduce the wage gap, help women be more productive at work, and boost their salaries in the long run.
And with this knowledge, how can men do their part to reduce the wage gap and make the workplace more friendly towards women? Well, easily enough, they can do the laundry, be there to take dinner out of the oven, change diapers or pick up around the house. All of these things reduce the amount of time women have to spend on housework and plus, contributing equally like this might increase men’s own relationship satisfaction and benefit them, too.
We can also vouch for greater HR training to teach recruiters the skill sets that different degrees and institutions of learning bring to the table, and spread information about the financial, and organizational, benefits of having people with great soft skills/feminine communication styles in the office.
So yeah, there’s London…there’s France…and do I see a beaconing horizon of hope over in there in the distance? Yep, that is definitely a beaconing horizon of hope. Let’s figure out how to get a little closer.